Coronavirus: Austria increases checks along border

Coronavirus: Austria increases checks along border
A truck drives past a sign as it crosses the border between Austria and Italy after it reopened on June 16, 2020 in Brenner, Austria. Photo: AFP
Austria is tightening border controls to all neighbouring countries, saying non-essential travel should be prevented.

The move to tighten border controls comes as the country starts to relax some of its coronavirus lockdown measures this week. This includes the opening of non-essential shops, schools, museums, libraries and art galleries.

EXPLAINED: How Austria's coronavirus restrictions are about to change

“The border controls are meant to break the chain of infection which through new virus mutations has grown more dangerous,” Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said in a statement reported by Reuters.

“During the pandemic, travel should be kept to an absolute minimum.”

Border patrols will be increased to ensure compliance with travel restrictions. 

The interior ministry said that it had been in contact with German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer over the new border measures and that talks with ministers in other countries were to follow.

Austria shares borders with Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia.

Hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes will not be reopening with the new relaxation of restrictions next week, along sports and leisure facilities, theatres, operas and cinemas.

Austria reported 1,317 new infections on Sunday, bringing the total to 420,644 since the outset of the pandemic. Twenty-two people died, raising the country's total COVID-19 fatalities to 7,906, according to official figures.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Austria in February 2021



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