Austria imposes local curbs, Balkan travel warning as infections rise

AUSTRIA on Wednesday said it was fighting a surge in the number of coronavirus infections by closing schools in parts of the country as well as curbing traveling with six Balkan countries.

Austria authorities announced that the development was because of the increase in the number of daily infections in the country as it climbed above 100 for the first time since April.

According to the provincial Governor, Thomas Stelzer, Schools were shut down in some parts of upper Austria province in a bid to contain an outbreak in a Christian community including large families in the city of Linz.

Stelzer added that residents of the affected region had also been urged to resume wearing masks indoors.

The move came as the Austrian Government issued a traveling warning for the non-EU countries Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

This, it said, was after a number of Covid-19 clusters were traced back to the Western Balkan region.

The measure affects Austria’s large community of people with Balkan roots, who often spend their summer vacation visiting families in their countries of origin.

More than 530,000 people among Austria’s population of 8.9 million have roots in former Yugoslavia.

According to the Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, I am aware that this decision causes pain to many people. But we must do everything in our power to prevent a second wave of infections.

The government warned against spending vacations in the region. Those who must travel for urgent reasons must self-quarantine or provide a recent virus test result when they return to Austria.

Austria’s step followed a recent increase in infections in the Balkans, which had previously been less affected by outbreaks of coronavirus than other parts of Europe.

However, EU members Slovenia and Croatia are not affected by the new restrictions.

Austria was among the first European countries to impose tough health measures in mid-March. Schools re-opened in mid-May, while rules on wearing masks have gradually been eased


– July 01, 2020 @ 16:05 GMT

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