Germanyâ€™s coronavirus border restrictions are putting truckersâ€™ health at risk, Transport Commissioner Adina VÄƒlean said in an interview on Friday.
Earlier this month, EU countries agreed that while theyâ€™re free to impose travel bans to protect public health, freight movements should be protected and that if new measures cause disruption, they should be stopped.
â€œI think Germany has to ask itself if this is the case,â€ VÄƒlean said.
From Sunday, Germany requires truckers returning from Austriaâ€™s Tyrol region and the Czech Republic â€”Â now branded â€œvirus mutation areasâ€ â€” to pre-register and carry proof a negative coronavirus test.
â€œOf course, itâ€™s causing disruption,â€ VÄƒlean said. â€œItâ€™s putting a burden on transport workers, from the risks they take in testing facilities because they have to leave their truck â€¦ to the fact that there are supplementary costs, because these tests are not for free.â€
The commissioner said sheâ€™s worried that the testing requirements are forcing drivers, who are usually mostly secluded in their cabin, to queue up in large throngs at the borders.
â€œThis means they are interacting with each other and this puts their health at risk,â€ she said.
It would be possible to â€œalleviateâ€ the impact by adding exemptions for truckers that are only transiting, or by recognizing tests taken within the past 72 hours, rather than the current 48-hour timeframe, she suggested.
In a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel today, road transport industry group IRU asked the German leader to rethink the â€œshort-sighted and pointless border restrictions.â€