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Despite German travel warning about COVID-19: For countries like Austria or Croatia, the borders could open sooner

Croatia - Porec port no shipping traffic due to coronavirus COVID-19
Despite sunshine and more than 20 degrees Celsius the city harbour of Porec lies more than peacefully in the afternoon sun due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet Istria is already virtually "Corona-free", as Croatian media reported.
"Nothing is eaten as hot as it is cooked" - a saying that has once again proven to be true in response to the variously motivated statements of some politicians in the COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2. Only this week, the German Federal Cabinet had extended the worldwide travel warning until 14 June 2020, but shortly thereafter there were more and more voices from politics and the tourism industry calling for exceptions. And their implementation could take place well before 14 June.

COVID-19: 250,000 German tourists brought back

Why is Germany still acting so restrictively at present? With the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic and in its further course a quarter of a million German tourists had to be brought back from abroad, a situation which, according to the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, should not be repeated.

Moreover, the travel warning seems to have focused more on package tours to classic holiday destinations, i.e. the classic combination of flight and accommodation, but certainly not on individual trips by car in apartments or to your own yacht. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the newspapers of the Funke Media Group: “If people can not only fly abroad again, but also come back with sufficient certainty, then we can gradually reduce the travel warning”.

“Differentiated solutions” for individual countries

He also admitted in the interview what probably all yacht owners in the Adriatic, especially Croatia, are happy to take note of: States such as Austria or Croatia, for example, “were able to contain the outbreak early on by taking drastic measures and are afraid of bringing the virus back into the country if they open the borders,” he said. “This is another reason why I do not want to rule out the possibility of differentiated solutions.”

In other words, those who have taken early measures, as has happened in Germany, Austria or Croatia, for example, and have a low reproduction rate (under 1, editor’s note) could, under certain conditions, commit themselves to reciprocal border openings. However, this would require more far-reaching, country-specific hygiene concepts, which Croatia’s Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli has already explained in detail.

Legal certainty through extensions of the travel warning

And as far as the extension of the worldwide travel warning from Germany is concerned: This had to be issued, so to speak, to make it possible to cancel planned package tours, for example, without any legal risk. After all, it is currently virtually impossible for air travellers to reach their destinations, as air traffic is virtually paralysed due to COVID-19. A solution was urgently needed here.

Austria would like to open as soon as possible

The Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had also repeatedly stressed that the borders should be gradually opened again, for example for holidaymakers from the Czech Republic or Germany. And bilateral talks between Slovenia and Croatia also met with a positive response despite the border disputes that have still not been resolved.

This would ultimately open the way for German and Austrian individual tourists who want to spend their summer holidays on the Adriatic, albeit with restrictions, despite COVID-19. In terms of content, however, it would then also have to be clarified in the negotiations that the holidaymakers do not have to go into quarantine on their return journey.

Croatia currently has COVID-19 under control

Positive news is also coming from Croatia. There, on 4 May, the second phase of the relaxation of the measures imposed on account of COVID-19 will begin, which will bring the private sector back on track in compliance with hygiene regulations. Many Croats will be pleased to hear that a visit to the hairdresser will then also be possible again.

Good news also from Istria: As the Croatian Minister of Health, Vili Beroš, announced, all patients suffering from COVID-19 have recovered, and there have been no new illnesses.

Coronavirus: Low reproduction rate causes premature border opening

Despite sometimes contradictory reports from politics and industry about the COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, it appears that what seems reasonable at first glance is becoming clear: countries with a reproduction rate well below 1 (such as Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia) will probably allow the opening of borders again in the near future under certain conditions in mutual agreements. Last but not least: Germany, too, has reopened the first marinas on the North and Baltic Seas – but with temperatures currently around 11 degrees, this is still a rather dubious pleasure…

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