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Germany Hopes to Open Borders by Mid-June

German police officers guard a closed bridge at the French-German border at the river Rhine in Kehl, Germany, March 16, 2020. German government allows only restricted access from France to Germany.

Germany’s interior minister said Wednesday the country wants to end some COVID-19 checks at land borders by the middle of next month.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told reporters Germany had set the goal of free travel in Europe by mid-June and would open borders with France, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria by Saturday.

Seehofer said the plans are contingent on a continued favorable rate of COVID-19 infection.

Seehofer said agreements on loosening the measures had been reached in bilateral talks with neighboring nations this week.

He said that travel from non-EU countries such as the United States and Russia would remain restricted until at least June 15.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the border openings before the German parliament Wednesday. She, like Seehofer, warned of complacency regarding the virus, saying it would be sad if Germans had to return to the restraints of full COVID-19 restrictions if the virus flairs up again.