Austria's Tourism Minister Elisabeth Koestinger announced on Wednesday, May 13, that border controls with Germany will be lifted from Monday, June 15, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Vienna (VIE), Innsbruck (INN), and Salzburg (SZG) airports are currently operational, though with limited services, and Austrian Airlines has suspended passenger flights until Sunday, May 31. Individuals traveling to Austria are required to provide a medical certificate, not older than four days, indicating a negative COVID-19 test result upon entry, although transiting the country without a stopover is permitted. Third-country nationals traveling from inside the Schengen area by air must carry a medical certificate proving a negative COVID-19 test result and are obligated to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
Non essential shops have reopened and are required to comply with social distancing restrictions. Face masks are compulsory in all public spaces and gatherings of more than ten people remain prohibited. All high-risk individuals must continue to work from home or be placed on leave. Cafés and restaurants will be permitted to operate with limited hours from Friday, May 15, while hotels and recreational facilities will reopen on Friday, May 29.
As of May 13, authorities confirmed 15,961 COVID-19 cases and 623 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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