Austria temporarily bars travelers entering from Italy without appropriate health documentation March 10. Processing delays likely.

Severity: Critical Alert

This alert began 10 Mar 2020 14:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Entry restrictions
  • Location(s): Air and land entry points from Italy (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Heightened screening and associated processing delays

Summary
Austrian officials announced March 10 that they will temporarily bar entry to persons traveling from Italy as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19); the measure will not apply to travelers in possession of a health certificate declaring them to be free of the virus.

Increased screening of individuals arriving from Italy could lead to processing delays, even with appropriate documentation. Other governments could place similar restrictions on travel from Italy in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people. Preliminary investigations indicate the course of illness is not as severe as seasonal influenza, nor as contagious.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Confirm health documentation requirements before traveling from Italy to Austria and allow additional time for processing at airports and border crossings between Austria and Italy. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks. Heed all official advisories and remain nonconfrontational if stopped by authorities. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays and possibly result in quarantine. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks. Shipping disruptions may occur; consider delaying or rerouting shipments.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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