Austria to remove UK and India from Covid variant list from Sunday

People from the UK, India, Russia, South Africa and several other countries will be able to enter Austria without a quarantine from Sunday after Austrian officials removed it from the virus variant list.

Austria to remove UK and India from Covid variant list from Sunday
Photo: Adrian DENNIS / AFP

From Sunday, August 15th, Austria will remove the United Kingdom from its virus variant list. 

The government is yet to release an official press statement on the change, however the official ordinance was updated in the afternoon of Friday, August 13th. 

The UK will be removed along with India, Nepal, Botswana, Russia, Zambia and South Africa. 

The Ministry of Health said the change was supported by the fact that the Delta variant is now the dominant strain in Austria and most other European countries. 

The impact of the change is that people from the UK will be allowed to enter Austria without having to quarantine, provided they are vaccinated. 

Those who have not been vaccinated but have tested negative or have recovered from the virus in the past six months can enter but will need to quarantine for ten days – and can leave from the fifth day with a negative test. 

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

Prior to the change, arrivals from the UK and the other countries on the variant list needed to obtain a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old before arriving. 

Once in Austria, they needed to quarantine for ten days, but could leave as early as the fifth day with a negative test. 

Several countries remain on the virus variant list, including Brazil, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Uruguay. 

Please click here for official information. 

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US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Authorities in the USA have announced the end of the Covid-testing requirement for arrivals from Europe, meaning that fully vaccinated people will soon be able to travel between Europe and the US without needing pre-travel tests.

US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Most of Europe had dropped the testing requirement for fully-vaccinated arrivals in the spring, but the US has maintained the requirement to show proof of a negative test for all arrivals.

However on Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would not renew the testing requirement.

The new rule is expected to come into effect at 12.01 Sunday EDT, until then passengers will still need to show a negative Covid test before they can board a plane to the US.

The US currently bars unvaccinated travellers from entry – although this does not apply to US citizens, US residents or those travelling for essential reasons – there was no announcement on lifting this restriction. 

The CDC said that testing requirements could be reinstated if new variants of Covid emerge, and added that it continues to recommend pre-travel testing. 

Covid travel rules vary between individual countries in Europe, but most countries now only require pre-departure tests for unvaccinated travellers. Check the rules of the country you are travelling to for full details. 

To be counted as ‘fully vaccinated’ travellers must have received both doses of an EMA-approved vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (or a single dose of Janssen).

If their vaccination was more than nine months ago, they need a booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated – people who have had a booster do not need a second, even if their booster shot was more than nine months ago.