Berlin hopes to resume inter-European tourist travel by the middle of next month, local media have reported. Chancellor Angela Merkel has been urged by the country’s state politicians to relax the Covid-19-triggered lockdown.
Germany plans to lift travel restrictions with 26 EU member states, as well as with the UK, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland, starting from June 15, DPA reported, citing a draft document set to be discussed by the government on Wednesday. The proposed measure is intended to allow inter-European tourist trips to resume for the summer.
The news comes as Merkel is under growing pressure from regional governments to ease the strict quarantine measures that were set up to slow down the spread of the virus.
According to newspaper Bild, Merkel’s cabinet had originally wanted to allow the relaxation of social distancing rules from July 5 but agreed to move this date forward to June 29. Merkel also reportedly scrapped the idea of limiting home gatherings to just ten people. Social distancing rules and other quarantine restrictions are expected to be further debated on Wednesday as well.
As hard-hit nations like Spain and Italy have begun relaxing their lockdowns, German officials have been warning people that letting their guard down may negate all of the previous efforts to contain the disease. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer both previously stressed that rushing to reopen the borders for tourist travel can spark a second wave of the infection.
As of Monday, Germany has had 178,570 recorded Covid-19 cases, and 8,257 deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute.
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