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Austria issues travel warnings for Bulgaria, Romania due to virus

Austria's foreign minister on Wednesday issued travel warnings for Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova as cases of the coronavirus rise in those countries.

Austria‘s foreign minister on Wednesday issued travel warnings for Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova as cases of the coronavirus rise in those countries.

Minister Alexander Schallenberg said the warning applied with immediate effect.

There will also be much stricter controls at the borders to Hungary and Slovenia, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Wednesday, saying 1,800 additional police would carry out checks.

He said that all tourist buses would be subject to checks, without exception.

“Please do not travel to these countries,” Kurz said, adding that anyone returning from these places would have to either enter home quarantine for 14 days or show they had tested negative for the virus.

Kurz noted that anyone who tested positive for the virus but left their home anyway was committing a criminal offence.

The government in Vienna is responding to the rise in the number of cases in nearby countries.

Bulgaria, for example, reported 188 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, a new record for a 24-hour-period since virus restrictions were eased there. Infections there have surged to 6,100, up from around 2,700 one month ago.

Last week, Austria‘s authorities curbed travel with six Balkan countries, saying at least 170 Covid-19 cases had been traced back to people returning from the Western Balkan region.

Infections in Austria, however, are largely under control, with only two of the country’s nine states – Upper Austria and Vienna – reporting increasing numbers, said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober.

There are currently 1,100 active cases across the country, he said, with 90 people hospitalized and 10 in intensive care.

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