Austria to allow American arrivals from Thursday

Austria has updated its travel rules, with American tourists who have been vaccinated, have tested negative or who have recovered from the virus to again be allowed from Thursday, July 1st.

Austria to allow American arrivals from Thursday
Americans can enter Austria from July 1st. DAVID MCNEW / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Austria has updated its list of low risk countries from which entry is possible. 

While as at June 28th this primarily included Schengen states along with a handful of other countries with low Covid rates including Australia, Japan and New Zealand, it has now been expanded to include the United States. 

The full non-Schengen list includes: Australia, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States of America. 

The regulation is available here (in German), while an official link to the Austrian tourism information page is viewable here. 

What will people need to show to be allowed to enter? 

Those entering must be in compliance with Austria’s 3G Rule, which requires people to be vaccinated, have recovered from Covid or test negative. 

More information on the 3G Rule is available here. 

‘3G Rule’: How to prove you have been vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid in Austria

Persons entering from low-risk countries should be able to prove they have only stayed in that country (or in other low-risk countries) within the last ten days.

They must also show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test from Covid-19. If this proof is not available, a Covid test must be carried out within 24 hours of arrival in Austria. 

More information is available at the following link.

UPDATED: What are the rules for entering Austria right now?

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Austria announces it will scrap mandatory Covid-19 vaccination law

Austria's federal government on Thursday announced it would scrap its controversial mandatory Covid-19 vaccination law.

Austria announces it will scrap mandatory Covid-19 vaccination law

Austria will cancel its mandatory Covid-19 vaccination law, the federal government announced during a press conference on Thursday.

The controversial law had been suspended until August after coronavirus infection rates slowed. However, it hadn’t been abolished.

The government could still bring back a set of regulations allowing police to check people’s vaccinated status. Those that could not prove they were either vaccinated, or recently recovered from the disease, would have to pay a fine.

“The omicron variant changed the situation”, health minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) said.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

He added that the law was introduced in a different context and was supported by “a clear majority” at the time when hospitals were full and “intensive care units were on the limit”.

The minister said that the new variant has reduced the effectiveness of vaccination against infections and has caused less severe courses of the disease.

“Even people who are willing to vaccinate in principle are now more difficult to convince of the need for a third dose”.

Rauch said the obligation to vaccinate did not increase the take up of the Covid jab. Instead, it “opened deep trenches in Austrian society”, according to the minister.

The controversial law provoked numerous street protests throughout Austria after it was announced.

The minister said that the obligation itself even made some give up on their intent to get the jab.

Living with Covid

The new variants bring a new scenario to Austria and people will need to learn to coexist with the virus, according to the health minister.

“Living with Covid means that we will bring forward a comprehensive package of measures, and today that means the abolition of compulsory vaccination,” Rauch said.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

The minister reiterated that vaccination is essential, especially as it helps prevent hospitalisations and more severe disease courses. He added that there should be an extensive vaccination campaign before Autumn and an expected winter Covid-19 wave.

Currently, about 62 percent of the Austrian population has a valid vaccination certificate. However, the number has decreased as people fail to schedule booster, or a third-dose, appointments.

The ins and outs of the vaccine mandate

The law was first introduced in February, even though the technical requirements for it to be enacted were not in place. The first stage was purely “informational”, and Austrian residents received letters explaining vaccines and the regulation.

A second stage, when people could have been fined if not vaccinated, was set to start in mid-March. Before a single person was fined, though, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) suspended the law with an ordinance.