On Friday, April 10, the Austrian government introduced increased controls on Austria's border with Czechia and Slovakia to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Those entering the aforementioned countries will now be required to produce a medical certificate confirming that they are not infected with COVID-19. These measures remain in place for those entering or transiting through Italy, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Switzerland in the last 14 days. The border restrictions are active until Thursday, April 30.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Monday, April 6, that some shops will reopen by Tuesday, April 14, in an initial loosening of Austria's current lockdown. Kurz has announced that the plan provisionally includes non-essential shops of 400 sq m or less and DIY shops to reopen on April 14. Subsequently, all shops and hairdressers would open on May 1. Shoppers would still have to comply with restrictions such as social distancing, as only one person per 20 sq m will be allowed in shops, and face masks will be compulsory in all shops and public transport. The Austrian Chancellor urged the public to adhere to overall lockdown measures that are being extended until the end of April. All persons from high-risk groups must work from home or be placed on leave, and the use of hotels for tourism will remain prohibited until at least mid-May.
All travel to Switzerland, Spain, and France via air or train remains suspended, and flights from the UK and the Netherlands are no longer receiving landing permits. Travel warnings remain in place for France, the UK, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine, South Korea, and Iran. Individuals traveling from these countries are required to undergo 14-day home-quarantine upon entry into Austria unless they provide a certificate of health. Authorities have closed the border with Italy since Wednesday, March 11, while border checks are in place at the crossing points with Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
As of Saturday, April 11, authorities have confirmed 13,560 COVID-19 cases and 319 associated deaths nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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