The country will allow visitors from Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, and Hungary to enter its borders.

By Alison Fox
June 03, 2020
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Austria is lifting its border restrictions for surrounding countries on Thursday, but not including Italy in the decision, according to the Austrian Foreign Ministry.

“Our clear goal is also to open Italy as soon as the numbers allow it,” the foreign minister said in a statement shared on Facebook. “We want the full freedom of travel as soon as possible. But we must not put everything we have worked so hard in the last few months lightly at risk. For travel abroad, therefore, an appeal to common sense & responsibility applies!"

The country will allow visitors from Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, and Hungary to enter its borders.

Austria’s decision to exclude Italy — which emerged as the first coronavirus hotspot in Europe — comes as Italy opened its own international borders on Wednesday. In doing so, Italy became the first European country to fully open to international travel and won’t require a 14-day quarantine for visitors, The Associated Press reported.

Guests sit on the outdoor terrace of a cafe at Naschmarkt in Vienna, Austria, on May 16, 2020, after restrictions were eased amid the novel coronavirus.
| Credit: GEORG HOCHMUTH/Getty

Last month, Italy reopened businesses like shops and restaurants along with museums. On Wednesday, the AP noted high-speed train service between regions also resumed (a hallmark of travel in the country). Passengers’ temperatures will be checked as they make their way to the tracks.

Austria’s Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, however, said it was too soon to allow Italians to enter Austria.

“For Italy, unfortunately, the pandemic figures do not yet allow such a step. I emphasize, not yet,” Schallenberg said, according to Reuters.

Tourists wear face masks while visiting the Schonbrunn Gardens, in Vienna, Austria.
| Credit: Xinhua News Agency/Getty

For its part, Germany has said it will largely lift restrictions on travel from European countries on June 15, Reuters noted. The European Union as a whole has also expressed the desire to open the continent to tourists by that same date.

The AP noted the UK, which has recorded more than 279,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per Johns Hopkins University —more than any other country in Europe — was considering introducing a two-week quarantine for anyone arriving in the country starting next week.