Austria’s nationwide relaxation of the coronavirus lockdown measures on May 19th will include its strict quarantine.
Austrian media reports that the quarantine obligation – which currently requires almost all arrivals in Austria to quarantine for ten or 14 days (depending on the state) – will be relaxed for arrivals from almost all EU countries.
The likely exceptions are to include high-incidence countries or regions, or areas where virus variants are particularly prevalent.
How will the relaxation of quarantine rules work?
As yet, this has not been finalised – with Austrian media reporting that the government is unlikely to put in place a free for all, i.e. the situation before the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, the scheme is likely to be based around the EU health agency ECDC’s traffic light system, which differentiates between areas depending on the prevalence of coronavirus infections.
For countries coloured green or orange, entry is likely to be allowed unfettered, according to Austria’s Der Standard newspaper.
When a country is coloured light red, negative coronavirus tests or proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus are likely to be required.
Travellers from dark red areas will need to comply with a ten-day quarantine obligation, with the possibility of leaving quarantine after the fifth day.
This system therefore resembles that which is currently in place federally (with some states having expanded the scheme to 14 days).
It is as yet unclear as to whether Austria would adopt a system which places entire countries on a risk list, or would do this on a regional basis.
What does that mean now?
While looking at the current infection rates and making a decision on travelling on May 19th is like deciding to go swimming in a month based on today’s weather, there are several countries which currently sit below the threshold.
This includes Italy, Spain, Greece, Iceland, Portugal, Malta and Finland.
Germany – the country from which the most people arrive in Austria – would also fall.
However, arrivals from France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia and Lithuania would still need to quarantine.