Austria enforces strict controls at Vienna Airport

People who are vaccinated, recovered or present a negative PCR test are still free to travel to Austria, which is currently in lockdown. [Shutterstock/ max.ku]

Soldiers and police have been deployed in Austria’s largest airport Schwechat to check whether those leaving the airport are travelling from southern African countries in a bid to stem the spread of the new Omicron variant.

People who are vaccinated, recovered, or present a negative PCR test are still free to travel to Austria, which is currently in lockdown.

According to Sebastian Schubert, spokesman of the Lower Austria military command, travellers from southern African countries may only travel into Austria if they are Austrian or European economic area citizens.

“These must register online beforehand, present a negative PCR test and then go into quarantine for ten days,” he told ORF.

The restrictions were tightened on Saturday as the foreign ministry said that about 200 Austrian citizens are currently staying in so-called “virus-variant regions” where the Omicron variant is more common.

These Austrians were asked to return to the country immediately, the foreign ministry said.

Austria is currently back in lockdown, and Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said vaccination will be mandatory from February 2022. 

According to a leaked draft of the new law, those not vaccinated would be fined €7,200 bi-annually until they opt for vaccination.

(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer | EURACTIV.de)

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