Austria has imposed a 10-day quarantine on all arrivals from countries with high cases of COVID-19 from 7th December to 10th January, essentially closing its borders over the Christmas and New Year period.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz made the announcement in the capital Vienna on 2nd December.
The threshold for countries whose arrivals will be required to self-isolate is over 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days.
This, in effect, excludes quarantine-free travel from all of Austria’s neighbouring countries, particularly those in the Western Balkans whose citizens make up a bulk of Austria’s immigrant population.
As part of the new measures, all restaurants and hotels must remain closed. Chancellor Kurz has promised that economic compensation will be provided for all affected businesses.
Ski lifts will be allowed to open from 24th December in the country, which is a popular winter sports destination. However, given the new measures, the majority of users are predicted to be locals.
Paradoxically, the announcement comes as the number of new infections in the central European country has fallen significantly.
However, the rate of new infections still remains above neighbouring Germany. Austria recorded 3,815 new cases on 4th December.
Kurz revealed that the new measures have been brought in place as a means of curbing tourism and cross-border family reunions over the Christmas and New Year period.
Kurz told Austria: “The falling numbers are a success, but no reason to give the all-clear.”
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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