Austrians Warned Against Alpine Region Travel After Covid-Mutation Surge

Austria took the unusual step of warning against domestic travel to the Alpine province of Tyrol after virologists detected surging infections from a vaccine-resistant coronavirus mutation.

Almost 500 confirmed and suspected cases of the South African mutation have been detected in the region, according to virologist Andreas Bergthaler of the Medical University of Vienna. That makes Tyrol into the new European epicenter for a variant of the disease that may make inoculations less effective.

Last year, the Tyrolean ski resort of Ischgl was one of the first big coronavirus superspreading events in Europe, causing thousands of infections from Germany to Iceland and Norway.

“Everything must be done to prevent these mutations from spreading further,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a statement. “The federal government warns against traveling to Tyrol.”

The warning was issued as Austrians across the country were allowed back into store after more than a month of lockdown. Schools in the eastern part of the country also reopened on Monday, with the west due to follow next week. Virologists from Tyrol have been urging authorities since last week to consider imposing a quarantine on the region.

Local officials issued a nine-point plan on Monday that they said would help contain the virus and inform residents about the dangers of the new mutation. Ski slopes can remain open but skiers require tests before taking lifts and gondolas.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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