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15 Mar, 2020 17:40

France says border remains OPEN as Germany bars 'non-essential' travel

France says border remains OPEN as Germany bars 'non-essential' travel

Franco-German frontier remains opened, yet border controls have been reinforced, French government has said. Germany is also restricting non-essential travel to curb the spread of the pandemic.

The tightened controls are set to limit “non-essential exchange” between the two countries, according to France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

“These French and German controls do not constitute a closure of our common border,” the minister said in a statement. “They are set to limit non-essential exchanges between our two countries in order to limit the spread of the virus.”

Earlier in the day, several German news outlets reported that Berlin decided to shut some of its largest land borders, namely ones with France, Austria and Switzerland. 

Also on rt.com France closes restaurants, clubs & most shops to battle Covid-19

Both France and Germany have been vocal opponents of closing borders amid the coronavirus pandemic — a step undertaken by many countries worldwide. Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke against tougher border controls, arguing that for Germany was “not an appropriate response to the challenge.” At the same time, she urged the people to limit personal contact, while several German cities, including Berlin, imposed a lockdown on public venues and gatherings.

A similar tune has been produced by Merkel’s French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron. He said that the coronavirus “has no passport,” and therefore France will close borders “only when it is relevant.” At the same, he announced closure of all schools, nurseries and universities, as well as of public venues in a bid to stop the virus. The viral threat, however, did not prompt France’s authorities to scrap or postpone local elections, the first round of which is held on Sunday, triggering accusations of double standards.

Also on rt.com Mandates above all? Macron declares himself ‘guarantor of HEALTH & democracy’ as Paris pushes citizens to vote amid coronavirus

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