Austria to scrap controls at all land borders except Italy

Austria announced Wednesday that the entry checks at its land borders introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic would all be scrapped from Thursday, except those at the frontier with Italy.

“As of tomorrow there will be no more checks in order to enter Austria,” Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg told a press conference, but added that restrictions on the border with Italy would remain in force for now.

The controls on the Italian border will be evaluated again next week, he said, adding that Vienna was considering the possibility of allowing entry from Italian regions where infection figures are low.

Austria said last month it would open its borders with all countries, except for Italy and Slovenia, in the middle of June.

Announcing the decision to bring forward the opening, Schallenberg cited positive epidemiological developments in neighbouring Germany, Hungary, Lichtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

Austria closed its borders in mid-March and imposed a strict lockdown to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

To date the Alpine EU member of nearly nine million people has escaped the worst of the pandemic, registering more than 16,600 cases and 670 deaths.