Austria is tightening border controls with all neighboring countries. From tomorrow, Monday, the border controls are to be massively intensified, as the Interior Ministry announced on Sunday. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) phoned his German counterpart Horst Seehofer (CSU) in the early afternoon, it said. Talks would also follow with other counterparts.
Travel movements should be reduced to the absolute minimum, explained Nehammer in a statement. “Because there are only a few exceptions to travel that are really absolutely necessary. We are now tightening the network of controls at the borders and thus tightening the control pressure to monitor compliance with the Covid measures,” said the Interior Minister. The border controls would “serve as a breakwater for chains of infection, which are becoming more and more dangerous due to new virus mutations”.
Previously, there had been criticism from Germany at the weekend about the relaxation of the corona measures in Austria from Monday. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder described “the combination of mutation and a hasty relaxation” as the worst path in Austria. The CSU General Secretary Markus Blume threw Austria and the Czech Republic in the Picture on sunday intend to “endanger our successes in Germany with their irresponsible opening policy”.
Nehammer reported on Sunday of a positive conversation with the German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who is also from Bavaria. “Thanks to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer for the trusting cooperation in this particularly challenging time”, Nehammer said afterwards. Talks are also to take place with interior ministers of the other countries.
While there have been constant border controls on the border with Hungary and Slovenia since the refugee crisis in 2015 and there have been more controls for the Czech Republic and Slovakia for a month due to the high numbers of infections there, there have been so far on the borders with Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Lichtenstein only random checks. These are to be massively intensified from Monday. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the border controls should be handled by the police units in good cooperation with the police authorities of neighboring countries.
The entry rules had only been tightened last week. All those entering Austria must now register and present a negative corona test result. Furthermore, there is a ten-day quarantine obligation, which can be broken by free testing after five days at the earliest. Commuters must also register from Wednesday and undergo a corona test once a week.