Is it still safe to travel to Austria?

Coronavirus has continued its spread across Europe, infecting more than 30,000 people in Italy, and thousands more across the continent.

More than 1,500 cases are now confirmed in Austria, with the virus having initially broken out at a hotel in a popular Alpine region.

Here’s the latest travel advice for Austria.

The 108-room hotel was under complete lockdown after a couple tested positive for coronavirus. Picture: Johann Groder/AFP via Getty Images

What’s the official advice?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office says: “The Austrian authorities have introduced a number of precautionary restrictions on travel and events in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Extensive restrictions are in place throughout Austria, affecting all areas of everyday life. Air travel restrictions are in place between Austria and a number of countries. From 23:59 on 16 March, there will no direct air links between Austria and the UK, Netherlands, Ukraine and Russia. As of midnight on 16 March, there will be no direct air or rail connections from Austria to Spain, France, and Switzerland. There are no direct flights and trains between Austria and Italy. You should contact your tour operator or airline for more information.

“Ski resorts close on 15 March in Tyrol, Salzburg and Vorarlberg provinces. Accommodation in the ski resorts will close on 16 March. In Tyrol, the villages of Ischgl, Galtuer, See, and Kappl in the Patznaun Valley, and St Anton am Arlberg are under quarantine for the next 14 days. Tourists will be allowed to leave. In Carinthia, Heiligenblut is under quarantine until 29 March. You should follow the advice of local authorities

“Restrictions are currently in place on the border with Italy. Anyone wishing to cross this border is required to hold a medical certificate. The certificate needs to include the result of molecular biological test and must be no more than four days old, in English, German or Italian. Non-stop transit from Italy through Austria remains possible. Some neighbouring countries are restricting movement across the border and conducting health checks. You should refer to travel advice for the country you are travelling from/to for information.

“From 16 March, restaurants, bars and cafes across the country will only be open until 3pm, and will be closed from 17 March. All shops, except supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, and postal services, will be closed.”

The symptoms to look out for. Picture: World Health Organisation

How has Austria been affected by the virus?

The country has taken drastic action to lock down its residents due to the impact of coronavirus.

An Italian couple staying at the 108-room Grand Europa Hotel in the alpine tourist town of Innsbruck tested positive for the virus on 25 February, prompting local authorities to place the hotel under quarantine.

The couple, both 24 years old, had driven to Innsbruck directly from their hometown near Lombardy – the Italian region at the heart of Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

Read More: What is coronavirus? Signs, symptoms and causes of the Covid-19 virus as outbreak continues

However, as is the case in the surrounding countries, the virus has continued to spread in Austria with over 1,500 cases now confirmed.

Italy have been forced to lock down several towns as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise. Picture: Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images

Is it safe to travel to Austria?

Britons have been urged by the government to avoid all non-essential travel abroad to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) put restrictions in place on Tuesday 17 March. They are set to last for 30 days although this may be extended.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “UK travellers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lockdowns in various countries. The speed and range of those measures across other countries is unprecedented.”

This is the first time the FCO has ever advised against foreign travel anywhere in the world.

 

Source