BERLIN – Jörg Radek, deputy chairman of the German police union, on Monday sharply rebuked Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government for failing to restrict air traffic from coronavirus-infected Iran.
“If we close the land border, then we must also restrict air traffic,” he told news outlet RND. It would be best if certain planes “did not even start,” he said.
Regarding travel from Iran, “you have to take measures so that this is not possible.” Radek said.
Iran is at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East. The death rate has reached 853, and 14,991 people are infected with the virus, Iranian authorities reported. The real numbers of deaths and infections are believed to be significantly higher due to the opaque nature of reporting in a society deemed not to be free.
Merkel's administration has permitted flights from US-sanctioned IranAir to land in German cities.
Germany's Transportation Ministry on Monday said it planned to halt flights from Iran and China.
The announcement came as incredulous commentators on social media could not understand the decision by Merkel’s government to permit Iranian flights to enter Germany.
Germany is Iran's most important European trade partner.
German-Iranian dissident Kazem Moussavi tweeted on Monday: “Shame on Appeasement! Politics allows the Corona-Mullah-Airline to land in Germany.”
A video circulated on social media showing Iranians arriving in Germany without any meaningful anti-coronavirus precautions. Writing on the popular news and commentary website The Axis of Good, Anabel Schunke wrote that the video was shown by “an online branch of Westdeutscher Rundfunk, which was set up specifically for refugees and is therefore not aimed at the German population at all."
“Unlike in other countries, there are no previous tests or even a mandatory quarantine for travelers from Iran,” she wrote.