Coronavirus : cross-border workers in the Far East

Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg are taking protective measures that are worrying the 170,000 frontier workers in the Far East.

“The virus does not have a passport,” Emmanuel Macron rightly pointed out in his address to the French, Thursday 12 March 2020. The “nationalist withdrawal” is therefore a mistake, he said, even if many countries have closed their borders to stem the spread of Civid-19.
In the neighbouring countries of the Great East, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg (800 km of border) where some 170,000 border workers go to work every day, the Chinese coronavirus is playing the troublemaker.

ℹ️ Information ℹ️Contrôles à la frontière avec l’Allemagne à Roppenheim, Gambsheim, Kehl et vers Offenbourg….

Publiée par Info Trafic Bas-Rhin sur Jeudi 12 mars 2020

The Robert Koch Institute, which is responsible for fighting epidemics in Germany, considers the Far East “an international risk zone for Covid-19, just like Italy, Iran and certain provinces in South Korea and China. “The city of Kehl has asked its employees living in Alsace to “stay at home”.
Several Länder have decided to close schools on Monday. Checks are stepping up at the border with France, causing major traffic jams. The German police, wearing masks, stop French motorists and ask them if they have fever.

Coffee shops closed in Belgium

In Belgium, where there are 369 proven cases of coronavirus, the National Security Council has decided to remain “in phase 2” which allows “to contain the dispersion and multiplication of the virus”. Among the measures to protect the population, from Saturday 14 March until 3 April: all private or public recreational, cultural, folklore or cultural activities are cancelled, regardless of their size. Discotheques, restaurants and cafés are closed. Classes are suspended in schools but nurseries remain open. Public transport continues to operate. No special measures are being taken with regard to cross-border commuters.

Luxembourg and Switzerland

In Luxembourg, where more than 100,000 people from Lorraine visit every day, protection measures identical to those taken in France and Germany are applied. However, no measures are planned to slow down the arrival of cross-border commuters, despite the presence of an outbreak in the French region of Grand-Est. “A total of 70% of people working in the medical sector are cross-border commuters. So we should also close the hospitals,” the head of the government asked.
The Swiss coronavirus seems particularly virulent. According to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), as of March 12, 2020, Switzerland had around 1125 confirmed cases and 7 deaths.
Switzerland has taken strong measures that are almost identical to those of its neighbours. However, the borders remain open for cross-border workers, but nine secondary border crossings have been closed. The aim is not to close the crossing, but to better monitor comings and goings.

All you need to know about frontier workers