German Interior Ministry bans foreign visitors but says asylum seekers are still welcome
Germany has closed off its land borders to fight the spread of the coronavirus epidemic and will deny access to any foreign visitors, with the exception of key workers and illegal migrants who are “seeking asylum.”
American, British, French, or Swiss visitors will no longer be allowed to cross the German border as the country battles to slow the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, migrants from Asia, the Middle East, or Africa, who have entered the European Union illegally, are “still welcome,” according to the German Ministry of the Interior.
Last week, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Germany closed its land borders to all foreign citizens except for those providing essential services coming from France, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.
Despite the ban, the German government has confirmed that “asylum-seekers” are still welcome in Germany, according to a report by Junge Freiheit.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior confirmed to the outlet that French or Italian citizens will be refused entry at the border – unless they have permanent German residency, are providing a key service, or have an “asylum” claim – and will be sent back to where they came from.
This means that if a migrant illegally enters the European Union’s Schengen Zone via Italy or Greece and travels to France or Switzerland, they would only need to apply for asylum at the German border and would be granted access.
“At Germany’s EU external borders [airports and seaports], there has been no change in the [asylum] procedure,” the Ministry spokeswoman told Junge Freiheit.
She confirmed that this applies to Germany’s internal Schengen borders, when asked if this was also the case there.
In practice, this suggests that the German government feels that citizens of other European countries are dangerous because they might spread the coronavirus.
Migrants, on the other hand, seemingly pose no such risk because they remember to use the word “asylum” when they reach the border.
Meanwhile, Germany will ban public meetings of more than two people as the nation works on slowing the spread of the coronavirus, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia state has announced.
The policy does not apply to those who live in the same household, Chancellor Angela Merkel noted, in the latest measure to limit the passage of the Chinese virus.
In Germany, COVID-19 has infected more than 22,000 people and led to 84 deaths – a significantly lower rate than that seen in the rest of the world.
“The danger lies in the direct social interaction,” state premier Armin Laschet said, adding that the federal government and regional states had agreed on the stricter rules.
While announcing the policy Merkel thanked “the overwhelming majority” of Germans following rules on social distancing.
Moments later she confirmed she would be quarantined after a doctor who had given her a vaccination tested positive for the virus.
“I know that it means sacrifice,” she said.
“I’m moved by the fact that so many are abiding by these rules.
“This way we show care for older and sick people because the virus is most dangerous to them.
“In short: we are saving lives with this.”