Germany adds Prague to red list of risk areas; other neighboring countries promise no changes just yet

Earlier in the day, Belgium also announced that they would add Prague to their list of red zone areas in Europe

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro
Published on 10.09.2020 08:18 (updated on 10.09.2020)

Germany has placed Prague on its list of risk areas due to the worsening COVID-19 situation, German officials announced on Wednesday evening, though other neighboring countries don’t plan to follow their lead just yet, according to published reports.

When entering Germany from Prague, Prague residents must present a negative COVID-19 test no older than 48 hours. The rest of the Czech Republic remains in the yellow category, where quarantine and a coronavirus test are recommended but not required for travelers. The COVID-19 test may be done in the Czech Republic, but the results must be in English or German. If you do not present a negative test, you must quarantine or get tested in Germany upon arrival.

“Unfortunately, the epidemiological situation did not allow the German authorities to take any other step than add Prague among its list of risk areas. We assured the German side, with which we have very good and intensive contacts on all the appropriate levels, that we will do our utmost so that Prague can get back among areas that are not considered risky,” Czech ambassador to Germany Tomas Kafka told CTK.

Earlier in the day, Belgium also announced that they would add Prague to their list of red zone areas in Europe. That means travelers coming from Prague must quarantine for two weeks. The rest of the Czech Republic remains in the yellow category, where quarantine and a coronavirus test are recommended but not required for travelers, the Embassy said

It had been rumored for days that Germany would place the Czech Republic, or part of it, on their red list due to the worsening COVID-19 situation. On Wednesday, the Czech Republic had its second straight day with more than 1,100 new coronavirus cases.

On the contrary, neighboring countries Austria and Slovakia will not impose any sort of restrictions for people arriving from Prague, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said in Vienna on Wednesday according to published reports. The Prime Minister was meeting with the Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič as part of the loose Austerlitz Format, a cooperation between the three countries.

Slovak Prime Minister Matovič said they plan to do everything possible to leave the borders open until the last final moment. Kurz added that the situation was difficult, due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Austria — many of which may originate from Czech commuters.

Shortly after Germany placed Prague on their red list, the Germany Foreign Ministry warned against tourist trips and non-urgent trips to Prague due to the high number of new cases. The ministry also warned about the worsening epidemiological situation in other regions which are closer to Germany, including Karlovy Vary and Plzen.

“The border with Germany remain open, but random police checks are organised in Germany,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

People in Prague may face high fines if they violate quarantine measures.

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One of the criteria for Germany to place any area on its risk area is if the number of the new local infections exceeds 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days.

Putting Prague on their red list does not mean that Germans can’t enter the area — it just means that the federal government, as well as the individual states, recommend that people avoid these regions if possible. People from risk areas can also travel to Germany, but with limitations.

Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček said he recommended travelers keep their negative COVID-19 test for up to 14 days in case German authorities randomly check the tests.