Austria

  1. Latest as Europe battles Covid surge

    Rotterdam hospital, 15 October 2020
    Image caption: A Rotterdam hospital, where intensive care beds are filling up rapidly

    Partial lockdowns are continuing to spread across Europe as governments battle to curb virus infections.

    • The Netherlands has closed bars and restaurants as cases there surge. Hospitals in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague are under pressure from new Covid patients. Hospitals in western Germany have readied spare beds to take Dutch patients if necessary, as happened early on in the crisis
    • New infections are also rising rapidly in Germany: the latest official daily figure is 7,334 cases, up from 6,638 on Thursday. Germany has declared many neighbouring countries and regions to be "high risk", including the whole of France and the Netherlands, and parts of Italy and Switzerland. Germans returning from there will have to quarantine
    • Ireland now has a four-week national restriction on household visits, except for attending to medical and care needs. Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said Covid-19 in Ireland was "not in control" – that is, the current track-and-trace system could not keep up with it
    • Austria has imposed a quarantine on Kuchl, a town of 6,600 inhabitants in the Salzburg region, because of a Covid cluster there. It is the first such measure in Austria for months
    • France faces one last evening before a night curfew takes effect in Paris and eight other cities. The number of new cases in 24 hours reached 30,621 on Thursday – a new record.
  2. Austria sued over ski resort's outbreak

    A general view of the village in Ischgl, Austria. Photo: July 2020
    Image caption: The outbreak in Ischgl ski village was linked to cases in 45 different countries

    An Austrian consumer rights group has filed four civil lawsuits against the country's government over Covid-19 outbreaks at a ski resort in the western Tyrol region earlier this year.

    The Consumer Protection Association (VSV) said the cases were being brought on behalf of individuals and were all related to Ischgl ski village. They are seeking damages of up to €100,000 (£92,000; $117,000).

    Ischgl was linked to cases in 45 countries after skiers brought the virus home with them.

    The first case was reported on 7 March, but Austria's public health agency has since said it believes there were cases at the resort as early as 5 February.

    Read our full story here.

  3. Ski tourists act over resort outbreak: Latest around Europe

    Ischgl and two other resorts, St Anton am Arlberg and Sölden, were placed under lockdown in mid-March
    Image caption: Ischgl and two other resorts, St Anton am Arlberg and Sölden, were placed under lockdown in mid-March

    Austria’s VSV consumer association launches a class action lawsuit today on behalf of 6,000 ski tourists who say they caught Covid-19 at Ischgl and other Alpine resorts in late February and early March. Lawyer Alexander Klauser told the BBC that “had they been warned. they would not have come to Austria”. You can read more about the outbreak here.

    In Germany, Bavarian Premier Markus Söder is warning of a potential “football Ischgl” ahead of tomorrow’s Uefa Super Cup final in Budapest between Bayern Munich and Sevilla. Although many of the two teams’ allocated 6,000 tickets aren’t being taken up, 20,000 fans are expected in the stadium, and Germany’s health watchdog sees the Hungarian capital as an area of risk.

    Spain has reported 241 more deaths in 24 hours – the highest number since 6 May – and 10,799 new infections.

    France has seen 10,008 new cases in the past 24 hours, and new measures are expected later for Paris in particular.

    Eyes in Belgium are on this morning’s security council meeting where the country's unpopular five-person social bubble, in place since July, is likely to be relaxed. They’ve been looking at a colour-coded system for each province which would depend on hospital admissions.

  4. Video content

    Video caption: Man in box of ice breaks world record

    Austrian Josef Koeberl lasted over two hours in a box of ice, wearing only swimming trunks.

  5. Europe anxious about rising infection rates

    British tourists in Majorca, 26 Jul 20
    Image caption: British tourists in Majorca

    New outbreaks in Spain, mostly clustered in north-eastern regions, have dealt a blow to the vital tourism industry.

    Urgent talks are under way with the UK, after quarantine was imposed on Britons returning from holiday. Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya insisted that "Spain is a safe country". "Like other European countries, Spain has new outbreaks. It's not unusual."

    Official data shows the Aragón region, in Spain’s north-east, topping the list of infection rates in Europe, at about 238 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The next high-risk region is Catalonia (112), then Navarre (110). But much of Spain – notably the Canaries and Balearic islands - has far lower rates, and the country as a whole is ranked sixth.

    Belgium is also worried about a new surge in cases: nationally the infection rate is 26.9 per 100,000 people, but in Antwerp it is 67.9. Belgian officials are anxious to avoid reimposing a national lockdown, but tighter measures are expected in Antwerp and some other clusters.

    In Austria attention is focused on the resort of St Wolfgang, after 56 people tested positive, nearly all of them hotel staff. Hundreds of tourists are on holiday now in the village of 3,000 residents, especially popular among Germans. They have been advised to get tested for coronavirus. It echoes a winter outbreak in Ischgl, a major ski resort, blamed for spreading the virus widely among tourists.