Europe Covid: British tourists refused entry at Austrian airport

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110 British tourists are refused entry at Austrian airport after ‘complete shambles’ by authorities implementing new Covid travel rules

Some 110 Britons who had arrived at Innsbruck airport, in western Austria, on December 26 were turned away by border guards for failing to comply with the new rules in what was described by one passenger as a ‘complete shambles’.

Just a day prior, Austria had tightened its entry requirements so that new arrivals needed to provide a PCR test that was less than 48 hours old – but it appears the information was not updated on the government’s website.

Previously, the rule had been that the PCR test could be up to 72 hours old. Some Brits are believed to have been carrying an old test, while others were caught out by a rule introduced last week that required proof of a booster vaccine.

Dozens of British tourists arriving in Austria on December 26 were turned away from border control in Innsbruck because Covid rules had changed

Seventy of the tourists stopped in Innsbruck were able to fly home the same day on a returning aircraft with spare seats, according to the BBC.

But another 40 were placed under police guard and forced to spend a night in a hotel before being flown back the following day.

110 Brits who arrived at Innsbruck (pictured) were stopped for having PCR tests that were too old, or having no evidence of a Covid booster shot

Of the 40 placed into hotel quarantine, 12 were allowed to take new PCR tests and continue with their holidays when the results came back negative.

All of those allowed to take new tests are thought to have been families with kids.

Franz Horl, of the opposition People’s Party, described conditions suffered by the tourists as ‘neither professional nor humane’.

He said it was unacceptable to bring people in over the holidays, place them under police guard at a hotel and then send them home at their own expense.

Horl said he did not disagree with the rules themselves, noting Britain’s high rate of Omicron cases, but said the way the situation was managed had been ‘botched’.

Austria, a popular skiing destination, had reported failed to update the guidance on its embassy website and caught the tourists off-guard

Mike Audus, a Twitter user caught up in the chaos, described scenes at Innsbruck airport as ‘carnage’ saying police were rejecting ‘hundreds’ of British arrivals.

‘Austrian embassy websites and others not up to date,’ he tweeted. ‘Complete disconnect/shambles.’

Austria entered a Covid lockdown to reduce cases earlier this month, but lifted measures after just a few weeks. It also plans to bring in a vaccine mandate next year

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