Germany closes borders to EU travellers in halt to free movement over coronavirus

Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer has confirmed restrictions will be expanded to people travelling to Germany via air, rail, water or road. The transport of goods and healthcare workers will be exempt from the ban. Mr Scheuer said: “Today we are taking a further step to protect the population.

“We are expanding the restrictions on people traveling into the country to travellers from the European member countries — regardless of whether they travel to Germany via air, rail, water or road.”

In Germany there has been 8,198 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 12 deaths.

In a televised speech this evening, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the coronavirus is the biggest challenge the country has faced since World War Two.

The German Chancellor said: "It is serious. Take it seriously.

 "Since German reunification, actually, since World War Two.

“There has never been a challenge for our country in which acting in solidarity was so very crucial."

Ms Merkel urged citizens to follow the restrictions on public life which has seen 16 federal states on lockdown.

Schools, bakeries, pharmacies and banks have been shut until further notice.

Ms Merkel added: "As the government, we will always re-examine what can be corrected, but also what may still be necessary."

The latest development comes as the Ifo Institute for Economic Research warned Germany is on the brink of a recession.

Clemens Fuest, President of the ifo Institute, said the German economy could shrink to levels not seen since 2009 after the worldwide financial crash.

The German economist said: “The current coronavirus crisis is plunging Germany into a complex economic crisis, the dimensions of which many people still underestimate.

“It is exposing the German economy to a simultaneous supply and demand shock.

“In addition, there is a risk that the supply of credit to the economy will be disrupted and that the sovereign debt crisis in the euro area will return.

“If economic activity falls to 65 percent of normal levels for just two months and then returns to growth as expected, this will shrink economic output for the year as a whole by five percent.

“That would be comparable to the slump in 2009, the year of the financial crisis. But things may get much worse.”

The Coronavirus pandemic has seen more than 204,000 people diagnosed with the virus globally.

Around the world there has been more than 8,500 coronavirus-related deaths.  

Infections outside China have been reported in 170 countries.

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