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21 May, 2020 14:38

Holidaying in Austria now safer than ANYWHERE else, govt says… but getting there still challenging due to Covid-19 closures

Holidaying in Austria now safer than ANYWHERE else, govt says… but getting there still challenging due to Covid-19 closures

The Austrian chancellor is promoting his country as the safest place to travel to, saying Vienna will ramp up its testing of tourism industry staff for Covid-19. However, border restrictions will only be relaxed after mid-June.

Spending holidays in Austria is “safer than in any other country in the world,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz offered, speaking alongside other government officials on Thursday. Vienna will do “everything possible” to keep the contagion at low levels so that travelers’ health is not endangered, he ensured.

The Alpine nation, which is steadily re-emerging from weeks-long coronavirus lockdown, is now bracing for summer’s tourist season with the chamber of commerce president, Harald Mahrer, promising the right balance between tourists “feeling good” and others “being safe.”

One of the precautions would be to dramatically increase the number of tests performed on all employees working with tourists, he said. Aside from that, Austria plans to carry out 65,000 tests nationwide each week, reaching as many people as possible.

Vienna is now in talks with countries it deems safe from the virus, including Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, over relaxing border restrictions put in place amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In the meantime, it notably ruled out reopening the border with Italy. Austria shuttered transit with Italy on March 10, but lifting it would be an imprudent choice for the time being, Kurz said a week ago.

Also on rt.com Austria's Kurz says still too soon to reopen border with Italy as EU states look to ease Covid-19 travel bans

Austria’s overall coronavirus tally now stands at over 16,400 cases – a fairly low figure when compared to its immediate neighbors. Italy, for instance, has reported over 227,000 cases and over 32,000 deaths while Germany has 178,000 Covid patients and more than 8,000 fatalities.

All in all, foreign travelers won’t be able to line up for crossing into Austria until June 15, as its borders remain shut for all but essential travel.

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