VIENNA, May 13 (Xinhua) -- The Austrian government reached an agreement with Germany to reopen the border as early as June 15, the country's tourism minister told local media on Wednesday.
German police officers wearing a protective mask work at the border crossing between Austria and Germany, near the German village of Oberaudorf as Germany enforces border controls with five countries amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on May 7, 2020. File photo by AFP
"From June 15, the opening of the border between Germany and Austria will be possible," Elisabeth Koestinger told radio station O1.
A two-step plan to ease travel restrictions between the two countries, which has been enacted since mid-March because of the coronavirus, was agreed on by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, said Koestinger.
Also on Wednesday, the European Commission is expected to recommend a phased approach for European countries to reopening borders between mutually low-impacted areas to boost tourism.
On Friday, Kurz said that the opening of the border between his country and Germany after the coronavirus lockdown was getting closer.
"At present, the infection rates of the coronavirus in Austria are lower than in Germany. Therefore I also assume that the border with Germany will open before the summer," said the chancellor at a press conference.
Earlier last week, Austria extended border controls with its neighboring countries, including Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Czech Republic and Slovakia until May 31 due to the coronavirus.