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Austria issues travel warning for Alpine province of Tyrol amid outbreak of South African Covid-19 variant

Austria issues travel warning for Alpine province of Tyrol amid outbreak of South African Covid-19 variant
The Austrian government has issued a travel warning for its Alpine state Tyrol, making it a “restricted zone” after the region’s health authorities reported 293 cases of the South African variant of Covid-19.

“The government is warning against travel to Tyrol in order to prevent the South African variant from spreading, and the government asks all citizens to restrict journeys to Tyrol to those that are absolutely necessary,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a statement on Monday. 

Kurz’s government is also calling on all holidaymakers who have been to the alpine state in the past two weeks to take a Covid-19 test, but is not enforcing post-travel quarantines regarding the popular resort region. 

Residents of Tyrol should also be tested before traveling to another state in Austria, but this will not be mandated.

Tyrol’s regional government introduced a package of measures on Monday to reduce the spread of the virus, including increased Covid-19 testing at skiing resorts. However, like the rest of Austria, shops across the state remain open. 

According to health experts cited by the federal government, some 293 cases of the South African variant have been detected in Tyrol as of Sunday, with 140 of those considered ‘active’.  

Also on rt.com South Africa SUSPENDS AstraZeneca vaccine rollout after study shows its ‘limited efficacy’ against local variant

On Saturday, Austria became one of five EU states to receive its first batches of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine. However, in a concerning development, South Africa’s health minister announced on Sunday that the government was pausing its rollout after a study suggested the AstraZeneca jab offers significantly less protection against the South African variant currently prevalent in the country.  

While none of the vaccine study’s 2,000 trial participants were hospitalized with severe Covid symptoms or died, 39 eventually caught the virus – 19 who had received the shot and 20 from the placebo group.

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