Austria is becoming a high-risk area: holidaymakers should prepare now

Updated on 01/14/2022 21:11

  • Out of school, into the powder snow of the Alps – for many children and their families, that dream has probably shattered.
  • Together with Austria, the last neighboring country will also again be considered a high-risk area in the future.
  • With corresponding consequences for the winter holidays.

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The reclassification of Austria as a risk zone makes it more difficult for German holidaymakers to plan their trips before the winter holidays. The regulation applies from Sunday – and has concrete consequences: Anyone who enters Germany from a high-risk area and does not have at least comprehensive basic protection with the second syringe that is usually required or who has recovered must be quarantined for ten days and can come to Germany after five days at the earliest to get rid of a negative test. For children who have not yet reached the age of six, the isolation automatically ends five days after their entry.

The decision announced Friday is likely to be a hurdle, especially for families with school-aged children who do not have full vaccine protection. You run the risk that the offspring will miss the resumption of lessons after having fun in the snow of the Alps and find themselves stuck in quarantine at home instead. In some federal states, the winter holidays begin at the end of January, in others only at the beginning or in the middle of February.

The upgrade due to the high number of corona infections affects almost all of Austria, as the Robert Koch Institute announced. Exceptions to this are the border municipalities of Mittelberg and Jungholz as well as the Riss valley in the municipality of Vomp and Eben am Achensee. Now, the nine neighboring countries of Germany are on the list of risks. Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands have long been designated high-risk areas.

Besides Austria, more than 30 other countries will be on the list from Sunday, including many in Africa and the Caribbean. In total, almost 140 of the 200 or so countries around the world will be on the risk list. No country was removed from the list this time.

No travel ban – but a travel warning

In addition to strict quarantine requirements, classification as a high-risk area comes with a travel warning from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for unnecessary tourist travel. This makes it easier for tourists to cancel trips that have already been booked free of charge, but does not mean a travel ban.

Countries and regions with a particularly high risk of infection are classified as high-risk areas. But it is not only the infection figures that are decisive. Other criteria are the speed at which the virus is spreading, the burden on the healthcare system and the lack of data on the corona situation.

Austrian Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger fears that her country’s new classification as a high-risk area will hurt the tourism industry. She criticized German regulations, according to which unvaccinated children under the age of twelve must remain in quarantine for at least five days on their return from Austria – but indicated a very simple solution to the problem: “Anyone who is vaccinated can still have a safe and relaxing vacation Spend your vacation in Austria,” said Köstinger.

In some ski resorts there is a stricter mask requirement

Due to the high incidence, in the popular Tyrolean ski resorts of Kitzbühel, Ischgl and St. Anton in Austria, stricter mask requirements have been introduced outdoors. FFP2 masks have been worn in central Kitzbühel since Friday. The rule applies until January 23 – the last day of the traditional men’s ski races, which are supposed to take place in front of 1,000 spectators despite high Corona numbers.

Similar regulations have been in effect in Ischgl and St. Anton since Thursday. Both locations are in the district of Landeck, where the incidence of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week was recently around 2,900. In the district of Kitzbühel, the value was around 3,400. This means that these regions are well above the Austrian total, which was recently approaching the 1000 mark due to the rapid expansion of the Omikron variant. (dpa/eng)

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