Travel and Covid: Austria Imposes Entry Ban on Southern African Countries

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: November 26, 2021; 14:57 ♦ Updated: November 26; 15:11 ♦ (Vindobona)

Due to the spread of a new variant of COVID-19 in Southern Africa, Austria has imposed an entry ban on travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini/Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Read about the new travel restriction and the variant causing it.

Austria is banning travel from seven Southern African countries due to a new variant of COVID-19. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM / Public Domain Description

A new variant of COVID-19 is causing international concern, and many countries, including Austria, are now restricting travel from Southern Africa as a result.

According to the ORF, the Austrian government has announced that South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini/Swaziland will be classified as virus variant areas, and entry from these countries will be generally prohibited.

Austrian citizens are still entitled to enter the country, but they will have to adhere to particularly strict quarantine rules, which include a ten-day quarantine, a PCR test upon entry, and registration.

In addition, flights from these seven African countries will be banned from landing in Austria.

Germany, Israel and the UK have also banned entry from the region, and the EU Commission is reportedly also considering cutting air traffic from this part of Africa.

New variant: SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant

The new variant (B.1.1.529) was first detected in South Africa and has quickly spread to other Southern African countries.

Experts are sounding the alarm because of the many mutations present in the new variant. Whereas the Delta variant currently causing problems in Europe had only 2 mutations, some are saying this new variant has between 10 and 30.

Some of the most pressing questions that need answering are whether this new variant is more contagious and if it is resistant to the existing vaccines.

According to reports, the World Health Organization (WHO) is currently investigating the new variant and determining whether to classify it as a “variant of interest” or a “variant of concern.”


Austrian Foreign Ministry