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Germany shuts its borders as coronavirus paralyses public life

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Federal police officers set up a checkpoint at the German-Danish border for drivers coming from Denmark. (Photo by Carsten Rehder/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Germany closed its borders with France, Switzerland, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Austria on Monday morning for all traffic apart from commuters and goods vehicles to try and slow the rise in coronavirus cases and stop panic buying in border regions.

Poland and the Czech Republic have already shut their borders with Germany, meaning Europe’s largest economy is now all but sealed off from its neighbours, apart from at the borders with the Netherlands and Belgium.

Interior minister Horst Seehofer has not said how long the closures will last.

Read more: European stocks fall as US surprise stimulus puts investors on edge

As of Monday morning, Germany has more than 4,800 confirmed coronavirus cases and nine deaths.

Over the weekend, Berlin ordered the closure of club, pubs, cinemas, and any gatherings of more than 50 people. Shuttering the capitals’ nightlife is a blow for the economy. Lutz Leichsenring, spokesman for the Berlin Club Commission, said on Friday that “more than 9,000 employees, as well as a further 20,000 artists, are suddenly without employment - and the clubs without income. Many Berlin clubs have already filed for bankruptcy as a precaution, otherwise they run the risk of delaying bankruptcy.”

Schools and kindergartens will begin their shutdowns across Germany as of today.

Vice president of the Robert Koch Institute Lars Schaade said on Monday that it would be clear in about 10 to 12 days if all these measures to limit public movement and interactions will yield results.

The German government announced a massive fiscal aid package last week, to support companies during the virus crisis, including measures such as deferral of taxes, and “unlimited” credit to businesses to ensure their liquidity.

Read more: Merkel warns up to 70% of Germans likely to contract coronavirus

The government will initially make €20bn (£18bn, $22bn) available to the KfW state development bank, and approve a new law that enables the government to make it easier to put employees on reduced working hours.

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