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Germany and Corona: First Ministers Want Croatia to be Declared High Risk Country

After Spain, the next E.U. holiday destination, Croatia, might be declared a high risk country because many vacationers who return to Germany from there are infected with the Coronavirus. Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are pressuring Berlin to act.

Croatia has some of the most beautiful spots in Europe. Whether it is the Fortress of Ilok above the Danube, the tiny alleys in Trogir with their many fish restaurants, or Dubrovnik at the Adriatic: Few countries offer this many beautiful places. Croatia’s coast might have far more rocks than sandy beaches, but that does not stop people from cooling down in those waters. Croatia’s islands are tourist magnets too.

Söder and Kretschmann Demand Action

Two First Ministers in Germany, Bavaria’s Markus Söder, who heads the conservative CSU, and his Green colleague in Stuttgart, Winfried Kretschmann, called on the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin to declare Croatia a high risk country right now. This step would trigger a travel warning for this youngest E.U. member state, issued by the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.

A measure of this kind would also mean that those who enter Germany from Croatia would be forced to have themselves tested for Corona. That way, new infection chains could be prevented. But on Wednesday morning, Croatia was still a regular European tourist destination, from Germany’s perspective.

Returning in Masses

In Stuttgart, Health Minister Manne Lucha said, at least Dalmatia, Croatia’s province that includes Dubrovnik and Split, needed to be declared a high risk region. German-language media quoted Lucha saying southern Germany was affected by the issue, because Croatia’s beaches were geographically closer than Germany’s North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts.

Austria had already declared Croatia a high risk country, days ago. Across the Western Balkans, high numbers of Corona infections were registered. This applies to Serbia, Kosovo and other countries. Apart from typical tourists, Germans who are originally from the Balkans and residents of Germany with Croatian, Serbian or Kosovar passports are returning in masses as well.

Party Tourism Blamed

Since E.U. and Schengen countries were opened to German tourists in mid-June, the federal state of Baden-Württemberg has registered almost 900 Corona cases that were traced back to tourists and other individuals who returned from abroad. This number amounts to approximately one fourth of all Corona cases in the state.

There are resorts in Croatia that are known for party tourism, similar to places in Mallorca or Black Sea beaches in Bulgaria. Party tourism is frequently being mentioned as one of the sources of the increasing number of new Corona infections in Germany.

Mandatory Corona Tests

Travelers coming in from high risk countries or regions have to undergo Corona tests. They are available for free at Germany’s main airports, at some central stations, and even at some roadhouses on the Autobahn in the south. Those free tests are not available for persons who are entering from countries like Croatia that have not, or not yet, been declared high risk areas.

The total number of Corona infections in Germany stood at 228,120 this morning. Again there was an increase of far more than 1,000 within 24 hours.

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