German health minister says border closures "unavoidable"

·1-min read
German Health Minister Jens Spahn arrives for a news conference on the coronavirus pandemic situation, in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Health Minister Jens Spahn said entry bans on travellers from the Czech Republic and Austria's Tyrol region from Feb. 14 were necessary to prevent the spread of new variants of the coronavirus.

"They are unavoidable for a certain period of time to prevent the spread of dangerous virus variants," Spahn told a news conference.

Separately, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said more of the economy could be opened up in some states before a planned March 7 end to lockdown restrictions if they have a seven-day coronavirus incidence that is stable below 35 per 100,000 people.

"That's my understanding, yes," Seibert told reporters, referring to Wednesday's latest lockdown agreement by the government and the 16 federal states.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley and Paul Carrel; editing by Kirsti Knolle and Thomas Seythal)