Strict entry rules will apply between 19 December and 10 January to combat the coronavirus. Anyone coming to Austria from a risk area will have to be in quarantine for ten days, free testing by PCR is only possible after five days. The corresponding ordinance is currently being drafted in the Ministry of Health. Some details are still open.
The text of the ordinance will be available next week to give those affected enough time to prepare for the new law, the Ministry of Health. ORF.at reported. What is already known: The restrictions apply to immigrants coming to Austria from countries with a 14-day incidence of more than 100 (per 100,000 inhabitants). Currently, all neighboring countries fall into this category.
The quarantine obligation exists only for those entering the country. Family members are not affected, even if they live in the same household. The 14-day incidence calculated by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is used as the basis for the measures, the Ministry of Health.
Restrictions until 10 January
Affected are all those who would like to spend Christmas with relatives abroad, but also Austrians living abroad who come home for family visits over the holidays. The regulation will apply up to 10 January, here one aims particularly at the orthodox Christmas on 7 January.
“The aim is that we limit the departure as much as possible before the Christmas holidays, so that new infections on a large scale do not occur again when returning,” said Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer (ÖVP). However, it is possible to leave the country before the end of the prescribed quarantine period, Nehammer emphasized. The rules should also prevent party tourism around New Year’s Eve. In contrast to Austria, the catering industry in the Czech Republic has reopened for guests. Also in Switzerland one may go to a restaurant or a bar until 23.00 o’clock.
Exceptions for commuters and life partners
Excluded from the quarantine rules are to be commuters and business travelers. According to the Ministry of Health, there will also be relief for life partners who have a relationship beyond national borders. For example, the quarantine rules “do not apply to persons whom one meets physically on a regular basis – at least monthly,” the ministry told the “Kurier”. Other exceptions include regular support and care services in a neighboring country – such as caring for a grandmother.
And: If a visit is necessary due to “an unforeseeable event that cannot be postponed,” and the visitor has to care for a “person in need of support” (for example, after a birth), the obligatory quarantine does not apply, the ministry told the “Kurier”.
The Ministry of Health is working on a solution for 24-hour care workers. “We are aware of the situation in 24-hour care and we will of course take this into account in the new regulation. It is important to us that female nurses can continue to provide care in Austria. This should continue to be guaranteed”, the “Kurier” was told.
Entry to Austria “quite arduous
In the Ministry of the Interior, however, preparations are underway for controls at land borders and airports. Border controls are being carried out “closely meshed”, Minister of the Interior Nehammer told Ö1: “This also means that there will then be traffic obstructions”, Nehammer said, with the consequence that entering Austria “will be quite difficult”. The exact procedure at the borders is still being worked out, according to the Ministry of the Interior. Separation orders may only be issued by the district administrative authorities – whether they will be involved in border controls is not yet certain.
Vorarlberg for exceptions
Meanwhile, the Vorarlberg state government, made up of the ÖVP and the Greens, wants to advocate an exemption for neighboring countries. At least over the Christmas holidays, border crossings over and over from the Swiss cantons of St. Gallen, Graubünden and Thurgau, Liechtenstein as well as the German states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria should be possible for family members and commuters, demanded State Councillor Johannes Rauch (Greens).
Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) promised exemptions for small border traffic between Vorarlberg and Switzerland. The Chancellor assured that there was an awareness of the close interdependence of Vorarlberg and Switzerland. Efforts are being made to find a “regulation that is as practical as possible”, Kurz said in an interview with the “Vorarlberger Nachrichten” – more on this in vorarlberg.ORF.at.
hp, Sources: ORF.at/agencies, kurier.at, Ö1 Journal. picture: pixabay.com
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