Tag: Austria

Germany warns against travel to ski regions in Austria, Switzerland, Italy

By Kirsti Knolle

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany has issued travel warnings for popular ski regions in Austria, Italy and Switzerland, scrambling to contain the spread of the coronavirus as new infection numbers rose above 10,000 a day for the first time.

While infection rates in Germany are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating, with a daily rise of 11,287 cases bringing the total to 392,049. Germany’s death toll stands at 9,905.

“The situation has become very serious overall,” Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, said.

“We still have a chance to slow the spread of the pandemic,” he said. But he said people must stick to the rules and that Germany must prepare for an uncontrolled spread of the virus.

On Wednesday, German Health Minister Jens Spahn became the latest prominent politician to test positive for the virus. His spokesman said he had symptoms of a cold but no fever. Government sources said he was fit for work.

Berlin issued new travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and some Italian regions including the popular skiing region of South Tyrol.

Britain, except the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the overseas territories, is also seen as a high risk area.

Under the warnings, which take effect from Saturday, travellers returning to Germany must quarantine for 10 days. Quarantine can be lifted early, if a test taken after five days comes back negative.

The surge in Germany also prompted the Danish government to warn its citizens against travel to and from Germany, except for the border state of Schleswig Holstein.

Germany’s move could significantly impact the Alpine countries’ ski season. Especially Austria, which reported a record 2,435 new daily infections on Thursday, is a popular destination for Germans.

Switzerland Tourism’s spokesman Markus Berger said the news from Germany was obviously not good. The industry hoped that the situation would improve over the next one or two months.

“We assume that the winter season can go ahead,” he said.

However, there was positive news for Spain’s Canary Islands as the RKI removed it from its risk list, lifting hopes there for German tourists over Christmas and New Year.

(Additional reporting by Inti Landauro, Silke Koltrowitz and Andreas Rinke and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen; editing by Maria Sheahan and Angus MacSwan)

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Germany issues travel warnings for ski regions in Austria, Switzerland, Italy

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany issued travel warnings for popular ski regions in Austria, Italy and Switzerland on Thursday aiming to contain the spread of the coronavirus after the country reported more than 10,000 new daily cases for the first time.

The RKI public health institute said Germany must prepare for an uncontrolled spread of the virus.

“The situation has become very serious overall,” Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases told a news conference. “We still have a chance to slow the spread of the pandemic.”

However, that required people to stick to the rules, he said. A change in strategy was not planned.

Under the warning, travellers returning from high risk regions to Germany must quarantine for 10 days. They are allowed to get a coronavirus test from the fifth day. If the test is negative, they can leave the quarantine.

While Germany’s infection rates are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating and the number of confirmed cases last rose by 11,287 to 392,049. Germany’s death toll stands at 9,905.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Jens Spahn became the latest prominent politician to have caught the virus. He placed himself in home quarantine after testing positive.

Berlin issued new travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and some Italian regions including the popular skiing region of South Tyrol after surging numbers of new coronavirus cases there. They take effect from Oct. 24.

The warning against unnecessary travel to Austria, which could have a big impact on the Alpine country’s winter tourism industry, excludes the province of Carinthia.

Austria last reported 121.4 https://covid19-dashboard.ages.at new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven consecutive days, way above the mark of 50 seen by health experts as critical. In Carinthia, that number was at 51.5

However, there was positive news for Spain’s Canary Islands as the RKI took it off its list of high risk areas. As skiing seems to be off the table, German tourists could go there for Christmas and New Year.

The decision opened “good expectations from this (German) market,” said Yaiza Castilla, regional secretary for tourism in Canary Islands.

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, Riham Alkoussa and Thomas Seythal, additional reporting by Inti Landauro, editing by Maria Sheahan and Angus MacSwan)

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