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Austria to scrap controls at all land borders except Italy

Austria announced that the entry checks at its land borders introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic would all be scrapped from Thursday, except those at the frontier with Italy.

Austria to scrap controls at all land borders except Italy
Policemen control a car at the border crossing Brenner in Austria, on March 11, 2020. Austria imposed border controls on neighbouring Italy. AFP

“As of tomorrow there will be no more checks in order to enter Austria,” Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg told a press conference Wednesday, but added that restrictions on the border with Italy would remain in force for now.

The controls on the Italian border will be evaluated again next week, he said, adding that Vienna was considering the possibility of allowing entry from Italian regions where infection figures are low.

Austria said last month it would open its borders with all countries, except for Italy and Slovenia, in the middle of June.

Announcing the decision to bring forward the opening, Schallenberg cited positive epidemiological developments in neighbouring Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

Austria closed its borders in mid-March and imposed a strict lockdown to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

To date the Alpine EU member of nearly nine million people has escaped the worst of the pandemic, registering more than 16,600 cases and 670 deaths.

READ ALSO: Italy reopens borders to tourists from within Europe and allows travel between regions

 

 

Member comments

  1. how could they make this decision while the virus control situation in Germany is essentially similar to that of Italy?

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BORDERS

Austria to reopen border with Italy from mid-June

Austria announced on Wednesday it would reopen its border with hard-hit Italy from June 16th and allow free travel from most other European nations from that date as the country eases its coronavirus lockdown.

Austria to reopen border with Italy from mid-June
AFP

“Yes, we are opening the border. Yes, travelling to Italy, to Greece, to Croatia for example will be possible,” Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg told a press conference.

Italy reopened to travellers from Europe on June 3, three months after going into coronavirus lockdown, but sparse arrivals dimmed hopes of reviving the key tourism industry as the summer season begins.

Last week Austria had already relaxed restrictions for travel to some neighbouring states but had excluded Italy, one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Europe.  

From June 16, Austria will welcome travellers from 31 countries without restrictions, including most of Europe.

Notable exceptions are Sweden, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom, Schallenberg said.

Travellers from those countries will still have to show a negative coronavirus test or undergo a two-week home quarantine.

A travel warning will also stay in place for Lombardy in northern Italy, which emerged as a coronavirus hotspot during the pandemic, Schallenberg said, explaining that the government was urging Austrians to avoid travelling there.

Schallenberg warned people to remain vigilant when travelling, noting that the pandemic had not yet been beaten.

“If you're packing your suitcase, please don't forget to take your common sense too,” he said.

Italy reopened to travellers from Europe on June 3, three months after going into coronavirus lockdown, but sparse arrivals have dimmed hopes of reviving the key tourism industry as the summer season begins.

Among Italy's other neighbours, Switzerland said Friday it would accelerate plans to open its borders, allowing people travelling from all European Union countries and Britain to enter from June 15.

Austria was among the first in the EU to announce March 10 that it was closing its borders with Italy to fight the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Austria has been spared the brunt of the health crisis with some 16,900 coronavirus cases and fewer than 700 deaths so far among its population of nearly nine million.

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