Coronavirus: Austrian government sued for failing to lock down ski resort during pandemic | World news


The Austrian government is being sued after claiming it failed to properly lock a ski resort at the start of the COVID pandemic.

The resort town is believed to have been one of the first centers for the spread of the virus in the country in February and March.

Hundreds of Austrians and thousands of tourists infected in Ischgl, Austrian public health body says COVID-19[feminine[feminine was there on February 5th.

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Peter Kolba, President of the Union for Consumer Protection, announced the trial on September 23

A number of infections were reportedly picked up from crowded après-ski bars in the resort, known as ‘Ibiza of the Alps’.

Positive on-station tests were first recorded on March 7 – and it was only later that earlier cases were discovered.

The lawsuits were filed by a private watchdog called the Consumer Protection Association (Verbraucherschutzverein or VSV).

They say authorities in the province of Tyrol have reacted too slowly to the outbreak, mismanaged the response and may have bowed to pressure from the tourism sector not to act quickly.

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Officials in Tyrol said they responded appropriately given what was known at the time.

The lawsuit is not a class action lawsuit, but large-scale litigation may arise in the future.

VSV chief Peter Kolba said at a press conference on Wednesday: “These are just the first trials – more will follow.

“Four cases have been filed so far claiming damages of up to € 100,000 (£ 92,068). “

Ischgl's bars are believed to have provided fertile ground for the spread of the coronavirus
Ischgl’s bars are believed to have provided fertile ground for the spread of the coronavirus

The VSV said it has been contacted by 6,170 people in 40 countries, including the UK. About 80% of them tested positive for the virus after returning from Ischgl and at least 32 people from the resort group have died, the AP news agency reported.

About 1,000 of them are represented by the watchdog, with plans to contact others about the possibility of a class action lawsuit.

It is hoped that the full-scale litigation will take place in early 2021.

In an open letter to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the VSV called for a settlement because prosecutions could take “years, even a decade”.

Mr Kurz’s Austrian People’s Party is also responsible for the Tyrolean regional government.

The plaintiffs seek damages from the Austrian federal authorities because they are responsible for enforcing health regulations.

While a lockdown was ordered in Ischgl on March 13, tourists were allowed to leave in what has been called a “chaotic” process by VSV.

Mr Kolba told reporters in Vienna: “When it comes to managing the departure… Chancellor Kurz is probably the one who caused the chaos.

“What he did was reveal that something was going to happen and created an impossible situation for the police there. ”

The trial said authorities had enough information before March 7 to notify the new arrivals, but failed to do so.


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