On 16 March, Germany reintroduced border controls, stationing federal police at the borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark. The Ministry of Interior said that in coordination with the neighbouring countries and authorities in all German federal states with external borders, the border police are ordered to turn away all travellers without a valid travel reason to enter and exit at the named borders.
On 31 March, the German Interior Ministry announced that it had temporarily suspended the deportation of failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan. This decision was reportedly made after Afghan authorities requested that deportations cease, amidst concerns that returns were increasing the rate of transmission. The last deportation flight left Germany on 12 March 2020.
The state of North-Rhine Westphalia is planning on releasing 1,000 prisoners from its prisons in order to free up cells to be used as quarantine rooms. Sex offenders and those convicted of violent crimes were excluded from the scheme. On 19 March, Hamburg Prison released 40 prisoners and Berlin Prison released 18.
- InfoMigrants, “Germany Halts Deportations to Afghanistan in Light of Coronavirus,” 31 March 2020, https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/23784/germany-halts-deportations-to-afghanistan-in-light-of-coronavirus
- M. Nienaber and T. Escritt, “German State to Release some 1,000 Prisoners due to Coronavirus,” Reuters, 25 March 2020, https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-germany-prisons/german-state-release-some-1000-prisoners-due-to-coronavirus-report-idUKKBN21C1RB
- L. Kampf and R. Pinkert, “Virus Fears in Prisons,” Tagesschau, 19 March 2020, www.tagesschau.de/investigativ/ndr-wdr/corona-gefaengnisse-101.html
- Global Detention Project, Immigration Detention in Germany, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/germany