In Brief: Two German ministers self-isolating after contacts test positive for COVID-19

Although Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’ first COVID-19 test was negative, he nevertheless called off an upcoming trip to Jordan.

Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

 

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Sylvia Cunningham and William Glucroft

Two of Germany’s top ministers have quarantined themselves after being exposed to people who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he decided to stay home after one of his security staff members fell ill.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said he opted to do the same after an employee of an EU colleague he saw tested positive for the disease.

Maas’ first COVID-19 test was negative, but he nevertheless called off an upcoming trip to Jordan.

Meanwhile, his foreign office issued new travel warnings this week for 11 EU regions.

More areas in France, Croatia and the Netherlands are now classified as high risk for COVID-19, as well as Copenhagen, Dublin and Lisbon.

Vorarlberg, Austrian’s mountainous and westernmost state bordering Germany, has also been flagged, and officials say they’re closely monitoring the popular hiking destination, Tirol.

Travelers returning from these places must be tested for the coronavirus and quarantine as they await the result.

Meanwhile, the Berlin mayor says the Senate is considering imposing new COVID-19 restrictions in the city next week, including on alcohol sales.

But for now, he rejects making Berliners wear masks while outside, a measure the Munich government is enforcing on some streets to combat rising numbers there.

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A new poll shows Berlin’s Greens stand to gain big in next year’s state elections. 

The environment-focused party is currently a junior partner in Berlin’s government with the SPD and Left. They could find themselves in first place when Berliners go to the polls in fall 2021.

The latest Sonntagsfrage poll shows the Greens with 26 percent support, an 11-point increase over their performance in the 2016 elections. The Social Democrats, who now lead the government, have dropped seven points to share third place with The Left Party at 15 percent.

The poll puts the conservative Christian Democrats in second place at 22 percent, opening the chance for a green-black coalition. That’s an arrangement already in place in other German states and a strong possibility for the next federal government.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk. 

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