Coronavirus: Travellers charged €190 at Vienna airport to avoid 14-day COVID-19 quarantine

Family in testing room at Schwechat Airport, Austria   -   Copyright  Eurovision

Travellers wanting to enter Austria and avoid a two-week quarantine are being charged €190 to prove they are free of COVID-19.

Austria says anyone arriving at its airports or land borders without proof they are coronavirus-free must go into isolation.

If travellers don't have proof, they can pay €190 for a test at Vienna airport.

But German MEP, Michael Bloss, told Euronews the charge is discriminatory and risks exacerbating existing inequalities

"This is not a fair way of handling the crisis," he said. "The crisis already has a different impact on different social classes."

Austrian MEP Lukas Mandl said the tests were expensive but something people will just have to take on board now.

"Flying now becomes expensive since you also have to prove you are not infected by COVID-19 and that's why everybody has to include these new costs in their travelling costs," he said.

"And that's not just true for wealthy people, it's true for everybody."

The test is also available for those leaving Vienna to fly to other destinations.

The EU has shut down its external borders to prevent the spread of the virus but cross-border travel within the bloc is still allowed although only under certain conditions.

The strict measures put in place by Austria are in stark contrast to those taken or announced by other European countries.

France, for example, will be imposing quarantine periods for incoming travellers but not for those coming from the Schengen area or Britain.

Mandl said Austria had taken steps to ensure people travelling to the country are virus-free in an effort to protect its population.

"For this period of time this measure seems to be the right one for Austria since we're better off than other countries when it comes to confirmed cases and fatalities, that's why we protect ourselves."

15,684 people have been infected in Austria so far and 608 have died of COVID-19 according to Johns Hopkins University.

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