Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Austria introduces COVID-19-related travel warnings for additional countries July 8, discouraging nonessential travel.

  • Alert Begins: 09 Jul 2020 12:30 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 23 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Austria have issued travel warnings for additional countries in order to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). On July 8, authorities issued travel warnings for Bulgaria and Romania, in addition to the previous travel warnings in place for Portugal, Sweden, the UK, and the Gutersloh District in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Arrivals from these countries are required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous four days or undergo a 14-day self-isolation period; authorities are strongly discouraging travel with these areas. Travelers from all other EU, Schengen Area, and associated countries are able to enter Austria without restriction. Travel with all other countries remains prohibited indefinitely, though exceptions are in place for health workers, freight workers, diplomats, individuals in transit, and for urgent or essential reasons decided on a case-by-case basis.

Authorities previously eased numerous restrictions allowing most businesses and facilities to resume operation as of July 9, provided they implement strict hygiene and social distancing requirements. Masks must be worn in enclosed public spaces, and social distancing of 1 meter (3 feet) must be observed at all times where possible. Increasing case numbers in Upper Austria has prompted state authorities to extend the mask requirement in additional areas.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The easing of measures in Austria is similar to actions undertaken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the beginning of the summer tourist season and lower infection rates of COVID-19. As countries relax blanket restrictions across Europe, authorities could begin to reintroduce sporadic, highly targeted measures in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks. Such measures could apply to neighborhoods or specific facilities, including schools, factories, or accommodation and office blocks. Mandatory social distancing procedures in public places and on public transport, as well as widespread voluntary “self-policing” by residents, will assist in reducing the potential for contagion, negating the necessity for a large-scale, blanket reintroduction of significant restrictions.

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. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments


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