Germany to gradually relax border controls
Controls at German borders are to be gradually relaxed from Saturday onwards, the Ministry of the Interior (BMI) announced on Wednesday.
The German government wanted to return to "free travel in Europe" by June 15, said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer at a press conference.
Since the introduction of border controls in mid-March to contain COVID-19 infections, travelers had to give a valid reason before entering Germany. Commuters, members of the medical professions as well as EU citizens who were on their way to their home country had been allowed to cross Germany's borders.
According to Seehofer, Germany had reached an agreement with France, Switzerland and Austria to act "in the same direction." Starting Saturday, controls at the borders between Germany and the three neighboring countries were to be relaxed, but not yet fully discontinued.
There would be a "significant relaxation and simplification" at the borders, Seehofer said. By mid-June, border controls should be returned to normal levels if the development of infection numbers would allow it.
According to the minister, Germany had furthermore agreed on a special regulation with its neighbor Luxembourg. Border controls between the countries would be completely eliminated as of Saturday. A similar solution was currently being negotiated with Denmark.
For entries from third countries such as China, the United States and Russia, current travel restrictions would remain in force until at least June 15, according to Seehofer.
In addition, the 14-day quarantine obligation for travelers to Germany from third countries should "maintained," added Seehofer, noting that the final decision would lie with the minister-presidents of the federal states.