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Criticism of Austria’s coronavirus travel warning for all of Croatia: No increased risk of infection in Croatia’s coastal regions

Travel warning Croatia: Due to the Coronavirus little Skipper locally
Early October, Medulin at lunchtime: Only the harbor captain (blue T-shirt) is desperately looking for a conversation partner. The harbor promenade, where tourists are supposed to stroll, seems to be deserted.

Is Austria being measured with double standards when it comes to coronavirus and travel warnings? For example, Austria issues a partial travel warning for the Portuguese cities of Lisbon and Norte (security level 5), but for Croatia (security level 6), a travel warning applies to the entire country, although the northern regions have so far had significantly lower 7-day incidences than would be required for a travel warning. Just to remind you: In Istria, the 7-day incidence is significantly below 10, and Austria’s capital Vienna has a significantly higher incidence than 100.

“War-like conditions” in Croatia?

While Austrians are allowed and allowed to travel to Vienna without any problems, there is a pre-designated travel warning of level 6 for the northern Croatian regions, i.e. literally (homepage Foreign Ministry): “Austrians currently residing in this country are urgently requested to contact the competent Austrian representative authority or the nearest representation of an EU member state without delay. Austrians living in this country are urgently recommended to leave the country” Causes for the level 6 travel warning: war-like conditions, imposed martial law, war, civil war or even epidemics.

No coronavirus danger – because nobody on site

The SeaHelp editorial staff has looked around Istria itself to get its own picture of the situation on the ground. What our readers know for sure, but obviously has not yet reached the Austrian government: To transmit a virus like the Coronavirus, it takes one infected person and one other person to whom it can be transmitted. Only both seem to be lacking in Istria on the beaches and in the marinas, as our photos from October prove. At noon at 1 p.m. really deserted beaches, except for the lonely port captain nobody far and wide in the city port – in the opinion of the Austrian government this should be as dangerous as war or civil war?

Travel warning Croatia: deserted beaches in Istria
Istria, 12.00 noon, beginning of October: 22 degrees, bright blue sky, but deserted beaches – where can you get infected with the coronavirus here?

Even in the ACI marinas, such as the Marina Pomer or Pula, water sports enthusiasts sit far apart from each other according to the Corona etiquette, as we have captured in pictures. When looking at these pictures you should think of the Viennese Naschmarkt…

Travel warning Croatia: Coronavirus regulations will also be in the Marina Restaurant
Skippers keep the distance rules perfectly even in the Marina restaurants. Nobody here understands the Austrian government’s Corona travel warning. “Probably nobody made itself the trouble to examine the situation locally, here it is always safer than in Austria”, is called it from skipper circles. Even employers in Austria forbid journeys to Croatia because of the Corona infection danger, for it nobody has here understanding.


Charter guests: “Not a soul seen”

Against this background, we spoke with the last skippers who were currently still on the Adriatic: “We made a trip almost down to the Kornati islands, it was wonderful, but we did not see a soul, except for the hosts in the empty restaurants. Only when we moored in Pula for a short time did we see two people walking along the main road at the port in the evening. We knew that apart from the marina personnel there were locals after all”. And when asked: “Risk of infection? No chance, there was nobody who could have infected you except the members of the crew.”

Request to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health for a travel warning for Croatia

We therefore wanted to know more about it and addressed a request with the following wording to the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health. Pflege und Konsumentenschutz the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs. Throughout Austria the seven-day value on Wednesday was 73.1, in Vienna 147.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In Croatia, the seven-day incidence has been below the critical value of 50 for some time, currently at 45.4. Nevertheless, the travel warning for Croatia will not be withdrawn or replaced by a partial travel warning (similar to Germany) for regions with an incidence value higher than 50. As medium reports can be taken, Austria negotiates regardless of high incidence values in the regions Vorarlberg and Tirol with Germany, in order to achieve a cancelling of the travel warning. In the plain language that is called nevertheless: If it concerns the German guests in the winter sports areas, high Coronavirus Neuinfektionen seems to be all the same to the Austrian government, one tries, the numbers obviously on the negotiation way “to talk down” to speak. It is obviously completely forgotten that a good five-digit number of Austrian citizens (and voters) have boats and yachts, but also real estate property in Croatia, which must be prepared for the winter. Due to the existing, numerically probably hardly justifiable travel warning is not possible for them however. Indicated is before this background additionally also the very short term travel warning with following quarantine, which led to the fact that many Austrian boat and yacht owners had to leave Croatia hastily, without securing their property for the winter accordingly. However – this is not to remain unmentioned here – in order to stand then at the border to Austria up to 12 hours and longer in the traffic jam.

Vor diesem Hintergrund bitte ich um Beantwortung folgender Fragen:

  1. When can we expect a withdrawal of the travel warning or a change in the travel warning for Croatia against the background described above?
  2. If a prompt withdrawal/change of the travel warning for Croatia is not intended, please inform me of the reasons for the hindrance.

Based on my previous experience with corresponding press inquiries, I do not ask for a concrete answer to the concrete questions asked in this case, no general phrases or generalities.

Sobering response from Ministry of Health

The answer to the inquiry was short and concise on the part of the Ministry of Health – specifically, the press spokeswoman Nina Bauregger did not even go into the content of the inquiry, but obviously answered in general terms: The development of the epidemiological situation is constantly evaluated and the measures are adapted accordingly. At the moment, no short-term adjustment of current measures is planned.

Foreign Ministry strives to

Gabriele Juen, press spokeswoman of the Foreign Ministry, was clearly more concerned. criteria of the Robert Koch Institute. It states: “The decisive factors for the evaluation are in particular the infection rates and the type of outbreak (local or nationwide), test capacities and tests performed per inhabitant as well as measures taken in the states to contain the incidence of infection (hygiene regulations, contact tracing, etc.).

Travel warning nevertheless economically motivated?

To the reference, one could loosen nevertheless the travel warnings for the northern regions of Croatia with clearly smaller 7-Tage-Inzidenzen, it was said, Austria regards the situation in a 14-tägiges rhythm. The objection, also then according to these criteria similarly to other countries as for example Portugal the general travel warning would have to be converted into a partial travel warning for certain regions of Croatia, replied it: “We know the situation and the requests of our citizens, but we consider also the entry and mobility criteria, in addition there would be current adaptations and evaluations on the basis the current realizations.”.

Only few arguments for travel warning Croatia

Translated from the politician speech that could also mean: Since probably only a manageable number of Austrian citizens travels to Portugal, but clearly more to Croatia to the Adriatic Sea, one should decide with the topic Croatia differently. We point out expressly that this statement took place in the subjunctive, the inclined reader may make his own rhyme on it.

SeaHelp: Inform about real situation on site

In analogy to the pictures in this article, we ask our readers who are still on site, have stayed or are not affected as Germans by the Austrian measures to post pictures of “real life” in Croatia on the Facebook and Instagram channels. Maybe someone from the Austrian Foreign Ministry or Ministry of Health will drop by…

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