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Merkel wants to discuss border controls with Switzerland

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel, speaking in Berlin on Thursday Keystone / Filip Singer / Pool

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she intends to hold discussions with Switzerland on possible controls at their shared border. The aim is to prevent the spread of Covid-19 or its mutations.

“We will certainly have to discuss the situation with Switzerland,” she said at a press conference in Berlin on Thursday, referring to the situation with countries bordering Germany that are affected to various degrees by the virus or its variants.

“It’s not a question of establishing generalised border controls – we will try to avoid that,” she said, adding that she had already begun discussions on the issue with the Czech Republic.

“But let me be very clear: if a country with an incidence rate twice as high as that in Germany re-opens all its shops while ours remain closed, we obviously have a problem.”

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A skier on a lift in Davos on October 25, 2020.

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Soon afterwards, Guy Parmelin, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, tweeted that he had just spoken to Merkel by phone and that the two countries would “proceed with determination during this delicate phase of the crisis”, staying in close contact.

Incidence rate

In Switzerland, where the incidence rate (the number of positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants) is 360 over 14 days, working from home became compulsory on Monday and businesses considered non-essential closed for one month.

Germany, with a seven-day incidence rate of 119, has closed schools, restaurants and all businesses considered non-essential until at least February 14.

For its part, Switzerland has placed the German states of Thuringia and Saxony on a listExternal link obliging arrivals to undergo a ten-day quarantine.

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