Austria to tighten border controls to stop importing COVID variants

Vienna: Austria will significantly tighten its border controls to prevent arrivals from importing new variants of the coronavirus, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Monday.

Speaking at a news conference on the loosening of the country’s lockdown, Kurz did not say specifically what steps would be taken but mentioned the so-called Brazilian variant, which has not been identified in Austria yet.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has ordered tighter border controls.Credit:AP

Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK needs to contain the spread of the South African variant of the coronavirus by identifying new cases through mass testing in areas where cases unconnected with travel have emerged.

“There is currently no evidence to suggest this variant is any more severe,” he said. “But we need to come down hard on it and we will.”

Public Health England managing director Susan Hopkins said the organisation expected all vaccines would be effective against the variant, especially in reducing hospitalisation.


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