Trucks and cars at the Czech border crossing with Germany have faced hours of delays since Germany tightened restrictions with the Czech Republic after establishing it as a very high risk country for coronavirus infection. German manufacturers, including carmakers, are now worried about late deliveries and a shortage of workers, which could cause their factories to crash.
The new restrictions put Germany’s vital supply chain at risk as many German companies rely on Czech input or Czech commuter workers. All but critical workers are now barred from commuting across the border, and all those crossing the border must give a negative PCR test for no more than 48 hours, causing massive queues at testing stations at the border and at the crossings themselves.
“If there is a long traffic jam at the border due to testing and registration requirements, the supply chain will most likely break down and production will stall at many passenger car plants in Germany shortly after,” said the president of the German Association. from the Hildegard Muller Automotive Industry, quoted by CNN.
“If the border traffic situation becomes worse and results in longer queues, it will no longer be possible to override production restrictions at Volkswagen. … We generally see it as the duty of politicians to ensure the free exchange of goods across national borders and create clear regulations in extraordinary circumstances like this, “a Volkswagen spokesman told CNN.
According to Deutsche Welle (DW), there are currently more than 20,000 Czech workers working in Germany, so if they cross the border with delays or can’t cross it at all, many small German companies could close.
The German region along the Czech border has posted the country’s highest coronavirus incidence rate in a week, more than 300 cases per 100,000 citizens, while the Czechs are seeing more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 population.
“We have [coronavirus infection] hotspots directly along the border, “said Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soder, quoted by DW.” We have to respond. “
Currently, only selected cross-border medical workers, critical sector workers and truck drivers transiting in Germany are allowed to cross into Bavaria for short-term entry and must give a negative PCR test for no more than 48 hours.
Soder criticized the Czech government for failing to contain the outbreak. “The people are not to blame. At the same time, we cannot leave the borders open when the incidence rate is over 1,000 on the other side,” he stressed.
Rozvadov was flooded with trucks. On February 17, the queue of mostly foreign-plate truck drivers at the Rozvadov crossing stretched 10 to 12 kilometers.
“Yesterday [February 16] we successfully tested 573 people at the sampling point at the highway junction and 172 at the old Rozvadov junction. And today we hit 500 tests by 8 a.m., “said sampling team coordinator Stanislav Castecka of the Samaria Association.
About 98% of truck drivers are foreigners, many of them from Southeastern Europe. They said that the queue for testing could take up to 20 hours. In addition, Slovak citizens have bowed to German restrictions transiting through the Czech Republic, the country has also been hit by the coronavirus variant.
“We are calling for a waiver of the requirement for freight drivers to give a negative test of no more than 48 hours, upon entering Germany. This action will cause major problems, because for our drivers it is difficult to meet this requirement in practice, and will very likely trigger a chain reaction from the state another too, “said Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok in a diplomatic note to Germany.
On February 16, the Czech Republic reported 12,486 new positive cases, the highest daily increase since January 8. The total number of positive people with Covid reached 106,211. The districts worst affected by the COVID-19 variant are Cheb and Sokolov, bordering Germany, and Trutnov in the east of the country.
Citizens living in these districts have been barred from leaving these districts and those who do not live there have been barred from entering, with a few exceptions. Police have been supervising compliance with steps at the driveway.