Germany limits travel from French region over virus variant

File---File picture taken Sept. 26, 2020 shows he Calmont vineyard standing over the Mosel loop in Bremm, Germany. The German disease control agency is adding France's Moselle region to its list of areas with a high rate of variant coronavirus cases, meaning travelers from there will face additional hurdles when crossing the border into neighboring Germany.(AP Photo/Michael Probst, file)
File---File picture taken Sept. 26, 2020 shows he Calmont vineyard standing over the Mosel loop in Bremm, Germany. The German disease control agency is adding France's Moselle region to its list of areas with a high rate of variant coronavirus cases, meaning travelers from there will face additional hurdles when crossing the border into neighboring Germany.(AP Photo/Michael Probst, file) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

BERLIN – Germany announced Sunday that travelers from France’s northeastern Moselle region will face additional restrictions because of the high rate of variant coronavirus cases there.

Germany's disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, said it would add Moselle to the list of “variant of concern” areas that already includes countries such as the Czech Republic, Portugal, the United Kingdom and parts of Austria.

Travelers from those areas must produce a recent negative coronavirus test before entering Germany.

The Moselle region in northeastern France includes the city of Metz and borders the German states of Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate.

Clement Beaune, the French minister for European affairs, said France regrets the decision and is in negotiations with Germany to try to lighten the measures for 16,000 inhabitants of Moselle who work across the border. Specifically, he said France does not want them to face the daily PCR virus tests that Germany has applied elsewhere to travelers along some borders.

“We don’t want that,” he said.

Beaune said France is pushing for the use of easier, faster testing methods and for tests every 2-3 days rather than daily. More talks were expected later Sunday, he said.

The weekly rate of new infections in Moselle, at more than 300 per 100,000 people, is well above the average for France’s eastern region and the national average. In Germany, the number of cases per week currently stands at almost 64 per 100,000 inhabitants.