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Covid: More than 100 British tourists refused entry to Austria after rule mix-up

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Around 110 Brits, most of whom were going on a Skiing trip, flew into Innsbruck on Sunday. They believed that they needed to have a negative covid PCR test in the last 72 hours.

But when they arrived, they were told that they needed to have had a negative PCR test within the last 48 hours.

OVP opposition party tourism spokesman Franz Horl said that the situation reflected poorly on the authorities.

He said: “It is neither professional nor humane to lure people to Austria for Christmas and then bill them in a hotel under police surveillance and send them home the next day at [their] own expense.”

Most of the tourists were able to fly back straight away but 40 were escorted to a hotel by police where they were kept for the night

Almost 30 returned to the UK the next day while 12 were able to stay.

All those who were unable to stay had to pay for their journey home.

Austria is currently experiencing a Covid surge and has recently changed its entry rules for those coming from the UK, Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.

Britons and those from the other nations need to have had a booster or third vaccination as well as testing negative. 

Austrian newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung blamed Brexit for the mix-up, pointing out that travellers from other EU countries could have gone into quarantine and then left it when they tested negative.

However, this option wasn’t available for non-EU travellers.

Innsbruck’s vice mayor, Johannes Anzengruber blamed the government in Vienna which changed the rules on December 23 but did not update them on its website.

However there has been anger in the last few weeks after thousands of ski tourists flew from Omicron hotspots like the UK to Tyrol and Salzburg. 

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The new measures against travellers from Omicron hotspots like the UK were made on 22 December but it doesn’t seem to have been made clear from when they were applicable.

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