110 British tourists are denied entry at the Austrian airport after a “complete mess” by the authorities who are implementing the new Covid travel rules
- British tourists arriving in Innsbruck, Austria will be turned away by border control
- 110, which landed on December 26th, violated the newly tightened Covid restrictions
- New rules required a PCR less than 48 hours old and evidence of a booster vaccination
- The information on the Austrian Embassy website has not been updated in what was called a “complete mess” by one passenger
- Were you affected or do you know someone who was affected? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dozens of British vacationers have been turned away from the Austrian border after clashing at the last minute with a change to Covid travel rules.
Around 110 British people who arrived at Innsbruck Airport in western Austria on December 26th were turned away by border guards for not complying with the new rules, which one passenger described as a “complete mess”.
Just a day earlier, Austria had tightened its entry requirements, requiring newcomers to present a PCR test that was less than 48 hours old – but apparently the information on the government website has not been updated.
Until now, the rule was that the PCR test could be up to 72 hours old. Some Brits are believed to have done an old test while others got caught by a rule introduced last week that required proof of a booster vaccination.
Dozens of British tourists who arrived in Austria on December 26th were turned away by border control in Innsbruck because the Covid rules had changed
110 Brits who arrived in Innsbruck (picture) were stopped because they had PCR tests that were too old or had no evidence of a Covid booster vaccination
According to the BBC, 70 of the tourists stopped in Innsbruck were able to fly home on a return plane with replacement seats on the same day.
But another 40 were placed under police surveillance and forced to stay in a hotel for one night before being flown back the next day.
Of the 40 quarantined hotels, 12 were allowed to do new PCR tests and continue their vacation if the results were negative.
All people who are allowed to take new tests are said to have been families with children.
Franz Horl from the opposition People’s Party described the tourists’ conditions as “neither professional nor humane”.
He said it was unacceptable to bring people in over the holidays, put them under police guard in a hotel, and then send them home at their own expense.
Horl said he disagreed with the rules themselves and noted the high rate of Omicron cases in the UK but said the way the situation was handled was “botched”.
Mike Audus, a Twitter user involved in the mayhem, described scenes at Innsbruck Airport as “carnage” in which he said the police were rejecting “hundreds” of British arrivals.
“Austrian Embassy websites and others not up to date,” he tweeted. ‘Complete separation / mess.’
Austria, a popular ski destination, reported not having updated the guidelines on its embassy website and surprised tourists
Austria entered a Covid lockdown earlier this month to reduce cases, but lifted the measures after just a few weeks. There are also plans to launch a vaccine mandate next year
Austria, a popular ski destination, is by no means the only country that is tightening entry requirements for British travelers for fear of the Omicron variant.
Last month, Switzerland effectively banned British tourists by even forcing double-vaccinated comers to quarantine for 10 days.
France then issued a total travel ban for all British people, except for material reasons, which came into effect earlier this month.
The move sparked anger among MPs who accused Emmanuel Macron of playing politics with a view to the French elections in April.
At the time, Omicron Covid accounted for a larger proportion of Covid cases in France than in the UK.
Germany then followed suit and also banned all British arrivals with the exception of returning German citizens and their families, who were forced into Covid quarantine.
The travel bans were put in place despite warnings from the European Center for Disease Control that Omicron will become the dominant form of Covid on the continent within weeks, whether travel is restricted or not.
The agency said travel bans could be used to slow the spread of the variant within the first few weeks of its onset, but that once it began spreading in the community and should be dropped, its value would quickly decline.