The Austrian Foreign Ministry lifted the worldwide travel warning for the coronavirus 15 months ago. As ÖVP Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg announced at a press conference on Thursday, only a few virus-changing regions such as Brazil, South Africa, India and Great Britain are now colored red. Entry from the European Union and the three Western Balkan countries, Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania is completely “green”.
Austria- Most of the non-European countries will be switched from red to orange, Schallenberg continued. Entry from orange countries is only possible if you are fully vaccinated (14 days after the second vaccination dose) or if you have received a vaccination dose as a convalescent and 14 days have passed since then.
The green list also includes some non-European countries such as the USA, Saudi Arabia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. Schallenberg expressed confidence that the three other Western Balkan states Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro will also be on the green list in July.
State Secretary for Transport Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) said at the joint press conference with Schallenberg that there are already more international flights from Vienna. “We’re feeling the upswing,” said Brunner. He pointed out that the landing bans will also expire.
No further US vacation trips
Brunner added that, in the course of the relaxation, the requirement to fill out forms (“pre-travel clearance”) when entering Austria is no longer necessary. When asked how the EU states that had been turned green by Austria were doing with their respective entry forms, the APA was told that Austria had no influence on this and that the situation could change quickly. Therefore, travelers are strongly advised to use the Foreign Ministry’s foreign service app to find out about the applicable rules in the destination country.
Outside of Europe, however, there is not yet reciprocity everywhere. For example, the USA, which Austria has also turned green, continues to refuse to allow holiday guests to enter the country, as Schallenberg confirmed. However, this topic is being addressed in the USA, the Secretary of State expressed the hope that fully vaccinated people will be able to enter the USA “very soon”.
Subject to tightening
“We all deserved this summer break,” said Schallenberg. He also pointed out that “the virus has not disappeared”. Therefore, it is a “summer with an increased protection factor and a residual risk”. He did not rule out a possible renewed tightening of the travel advice. When asked, he specifically named Russia, which currently has orange status. There are “question marks” here.
Reference was also made to the short-term travel warning that Germany issued for Portugal. Such cases are not excluded. Schallenberg pointed out that the tour operators grant a right of withdrawal in such cases. At the same time, the minister recommended that travelers take out cancellation insurance. He will do it himself “to be sure”.
When asked, Schallenberg and Brunner also complained that many people are still waiting for compensation for trips that were canceled in the previous year. The foreign minister criticized the tour operators “should have settled this long ago”. Brunner said that the EU air passenger rights regulation was “very clear” on this point and that the republic, for example during the AUA rescue, had been urging the Lufthansa subsidiary to meet its obligations towards travelers. According to Brunner, the National Council is currently discussing a strengthening of air passenger rights via the aviation law.
“Green passport” for EU in force
The “Green Pass”, which came into force on Thursday, is also intended to stimulate and facilitate travel within the EU. This means that a QR code can be used to prove that a person has been vaccinated against the coronavirus or tested negative or has survived an infection. The certificate is recognized in all 27 EU countries as well as in Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. It should make traveling within Europe easier.