With Austria fighting to control an epidemic of the latest strain first identified in South Africa and the neighboring Czech Republic facing hospital bed shortages on top of a diplomatic dispute over lockdowns, Central Europe has become the continent's newest coronavirus hotspot.
The deteriorating situation in the Austrian Province of Tyrol and the Czech Republic has prompted Germany to announce new border measures to prevent the transmission of the disease between the two countries. Jens Spahn, the German Minister of Health, said the new laws, which would come into force on Sunday, were "unavoidable."
To defend the population from virus mutations—that is why yesterday the federal government agreed to declare the Czech Republic.
This means that transportation will be prohibited — and checks must be carried out without exception before joining Germany — and there is a quarantine requirement.'
Czech teens have been deployed to overloaded hospitals as cases of Covid erupt.
Despite the latest, more infectious strains, coronavirus cases have recently fallen in Germany. The country reported 9,860 new infections on Friday, a decrease of 3,048 cases relative to the same day last week. There were no similar declines in cases in Austria and the Czech Republic.
The Government of Tyrol said Wednesday that it had reported 438 confirmed and suspected cases of the South African form as of Tuesday. Scientists are worried with this strain because the effectiveness of some of the coronavirus vaccines tends to be diminished by its mutations.
Local officials mobilized 1,200 police officers and troops in an effort to curb the variant's distribution. They will be deploying to Tyrol's border checkpoints beginning at midnight on Friday and staying for 10 days to ensure that anybody attempting to leave the province has a negative coronavirus test no older than 48 hours, Tyrol police spokesman Stefan Eder told CNN.