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Austria to reinstate ban on direct flights from UK

Austria will impose a landing ban for flights from the UK due to the spread of the so-called Indian variant of coronavirus in the country.

Landed passengers with face masks at Vienna Airport in Schwechat. (ALEX HALADA/ AFP)
Landed passengers with face masks at Vienna Airport in Schwechat. ((Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP))
Aircraft from the United Kingdom will no longer be allowed to land in Austria from June 1st, according to a regulation by the Ministry of Health published on Monday.
 
In addition, the UK will be put on the list of virus variant areas from Tuesday.
 
Only Austrian citizens and residents allowed to visit Austria

This means entry from the United Kingdom to Austria will only be possible to a limited extent and with a negative PCR test. 

Only Austrian citizens and residents will be allowed to enter the country, apart from certain groups. 

The Austrian government announced on Saturday that entry from virus variant states would be permitted for  humanitarian workers, persons who have been summoned by the courts and people traveling to an international organisation on business, provided they can provide evidence of a negative PCR test result.

Other “virus variant” states include Brazil, India and South Africa. The ordinance banning aircraft from these countries from landing was recently extended up to and including June 6th.  

READ MORE: Explained: The new rules for entering Austria

Germany also recently banned travellers from the UK from entering the country. 

READ MORE: Germany bans travel from UK over covid Indian variant.

Earlier ban over so-called British virus variant

Flights from the UK were also banned from landing in Austria between December and March because of the so-called British virus variant. However, on March 21st, flights between the two countries resumed. 

Recently the B.1.617.2  variant of the coronavirus, which was first discovered in India, has spread widely in the UK. This virus variant is considered to be particularly contagious and is believed to be the reason the number of infections in India have exploded in recent months.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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