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VIENNA, June 10 (Reuters) - Austria is lifting checks at its border with Italy and ending quarantine requirements for more than 20 European countries as of June 16, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said on Wednesday.
Austria draws many of its visitors from neighbouring Germany, with which it has already reopened its border, so the move will have a greater effect on Austrians, who will be able to return from summer destinations like Italy and Croatia without having to go into quarantine or show a negative test.
“We are opening Austria’s borders to all EU, EFTA (European Free Trade Association) and EEA (European Economic Area) states with four notable exceptions - those are Sweden, Great Britain, Spain and Portugal,” Schallenberg told a news conference.
He added that since Spain has said it will keep its borders closed until the end of June, the two countries could mutually lift restrictions on July 1. Restrictions on the other three will remain in place for the time being. Health Minister Rudolf Anschober cited Britain and Sweden’s higher infection rates.
Austria, which borders eight countries, last week lifted checks for all of them but Italy, infuriating Rome. This move will ease tensions with its southern neighbour but it comes with what Schallenberg called a “partial travel warning” for Lombardy, the region with Italy’s worst coronavirus outbreak.
“We very urgently warn Austrians against travel to this region,” he said, without saying what that would mean in practical terms for anyone arriving in Austria from Lombardy.
Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Alison Williams and Giles Elgood