Austria to Italy rail services suspended

duesselmartin

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Hi everyone.
Apparantly all Italy to Austria rail services are suspended after a passenger was suspected to suffer from the corona virus.
I could not yet find an English language article.
Hope the Austrian one will suffice for the time being.
Martin

https://m.oe24.at/oesterreich/polit...len-an-Oesterreichs-Grenze-gestoppt/418513945
OE24 translated said:
Due to the suspicion of two cases of coronavirus on a train from Venice to Munich, passenger traffic between Austria and Italy was stopped for a few hours across the Brenner border.

According to oe24-EXKLUSIV reports, both the State Medical Service and the Ministry of the Interior confirmed that 500 passengers were temporarily stuck in two passenger trains at the Italian border station on the Brenner Pass in the late Sunday evening. The trip continued at 11:30 p.m., the Italian rail company said.

Shortly before, the Austrian Ministry of the Interior had given the all-clear. "The two people suspected of being corona were tested negatively. The train will therefore continue shortly," said Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) in a statement. Identity checks are carried out for all passengers who get off in Austria.
 
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Catracho

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Good thing we're not reacting to the normal flu (you know, the thing that literally kills hundreds of thousands of people every single year without anybody noticing or caring) the same way we're reacting to this far less deadly virus, or we'd be shutting down the whole world year round. Overreaction much?
 

Bletchleyite

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Good thing we're not reacting to the normal flu (you know, the thing that literally kills hundreds of thousands of people every single year without anybody noticing or caring) the same way we're reacting to this far less deadly virus, or we'd be shutting down the whole world year round. Overreaction much?
I think the argument is that we could do without a 5th endemic coronavirus[1] (noting how much of an economic issue the common cold causes) and also that there's the risk of it mutating into something rather nastier. Overall I'm not particularly concerned about catching it, TBH.

What doesn't help is that there is no effort from the authorities to communicate this, and as a result people are scared of it as if it was the smallpox or something and meant near-certain death.

[1] I had a cold last week and had a bit of a laugh in some circles saying "I've got coronavirus, hope you enjoy it too", being an accurate statement (the common cold is one of the four endemic coronavirii) but not quite having the meaning it appears :D
 

Mag_seven

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158756

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As if carriers can't come into Austria by train from Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland etc!
They can, but the serious situation right now is in Italy. Of course as Switzerland hasn't yet taken the same measures someone from Italy could just go that way. Or use the motorways, which are still open.
 

JB_B

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Good thing we're not reacting to the normal flu (you know, the thing that literally kills hundreds of thousands of people every single year without anybody noticing or caring) the same way we're reacting to this far less deadly virus, or we'd be shutting down the whole world year round. Overreaction much?
At the moment it's impossible to tell if it's an overreaction or not.

It might be helpful if you could explain exactly what you mean by "far less deadly virus".

Certainly many people die from influenza-related complications each year and you may be making a valid point that some people may have become acculturated to those deaths ( despite what you say, public health workers do care and do notice - here in the UK flu is very closely monitored : see e.g : https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/weekly-national-flu-reports-2019-to-2020-season ).

Nevertheless, if a significant proportion of the population were to become infected with Covid-19 (? 0.5-2% mortality ; ? 5-20% requiring hospital treatment) then health services - even in wealthy, developed countries - would be put under severe pressure.

Hopefully things won't come to that.
 
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EAD

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Just to add a couple of points. It was EC86 that triggered this (Venezia Santa Lucia 13:35 - München Hbf 20:25) - the two German ladies with fever were taken to hospital in Verona and tested negative. However, the train was stopped in Brenner as the Tiroler Landeswarnzentrale - LWZ (so Tyrol's Emergency management agency - Austria has a network of these at State level) decided to stop cross border passenger traffic on the back of that original alert. Local trains stopped short on the Tirol side and EC1288 was also impacted.

The bit which is a little unclear from reports is whether at the time the LWZ took the decision, the results had already come back for the two ladies in hospital in Verona - I suspect not/there was a delay in being updated between countries. That would explain the initial decision and in the end EC86 was there some time and joined by EC1288 which runs 2 hours behind it (no doubt the authorities used this to conduct checks and see if their response for such a case worked). Passengers were looked after during the wait by the authorities. Replacement trains ran from Innsbruck Hbf for both ECs. Traffic was restored around 23:20 and as I type this EC1288 is due in Rosenheim at 01:26 v 21:45.

Normal service again from tomorrow - local ORF Tirol write up is here https://tirol.orf.at/stories/3035974/
 

duesselmartin

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Thank you for that update. Yes it all seems drastic. As to its medical merit, simply lack the knowledge. There is a political side to it though with calles from Salvini to suspend the Schengen agreement and here it can impact travel again.
 

30907

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Reading the article with interest (I happen to be in Innsbruck ATM) - the Italian authorities were distinctly unhappy - but predictably rightwing Austrian politicians are calling for stronger measures.
Given that the German ladies with flu or whatever were coming from Venice or Garda, where AFAIK there are no confirmed cases, it does look like an overreaction. Apparently though a family from Lombardy is in hospital in South Tyrol/Trentino - but not on a train to Germany.
There is a considerable cross-border holiday traffic ATM, and also a recent history of illegal migration.
 

Bletchleyite

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Thank you for that update. Yes it all seems drastic. As to its medical merit, simply lack the knowledge. There is a political side to it though with calles from Salvini to suspend the Schengen agreement and here it can impact travel again.
I suspect, if things get really bad, Schengen will be suspended and borders closed for a period, as well as suspension of air travel.
 

EAD

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Reading the article with interest (I happen to be in Innsbruck ATM) - the Italian authorities were distinctly unhappy - but predictably rightwing Austrian politicians are calling for stronger measures.
Given that the German ladies with flu or whatever were coming from Venice or Garda, where AFAIK there are no confirmed cases, it does look like an overreaction. Apparently though a family from Lombardy is in hospital in South Tyrol/Trentino - but not on a train to Germany.
There is a considerable cross-border holiday traffic ATM, and also a recent history of illegal migration.
Well yes Italy was vocal about it yesterday which I understand, but then again (and I say this as someone with family in both Tirol and Italy (but the south)), there has been quite a hysterical reaction in parts of Italy - a friend in Bergamo sent me a picture of her local supermarket pretty much cleared of food. Much of this is being driven by the fact that Italy's patient zero is still not identified and meanwhile the number of cases is rising.

In terms of regions, as of this morning Repubblica reports 219 confirmed cases in Italy: 167 in Lombardia (includes 4 victims), 27 in Veneto (so relevant in general terms for the Brenner trains given that covers Venezia, Verona and up to Garda) (one elderly victim), 18 in Emilia Romagna (9 new as of today), 4 in Piemonte and 3 in Lazio.

On Schengen, let's see the 2015 on wards German restrictions at Kiefersfelden are a pain locally [there was an ORF Tirol article on that this morning]. I agree with Bletchleyite - things would need to get worse and be clear as to the need to take that step. OT, but there is popularist sabre rattling of course, of which Salvini is probably the biggest proponent - he has to stay in the headlines after all.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The Veneto quarantine is at Vo' Euganeo, a rural area south of Vicenza, and well away from any railway station.
I would have thought that until the quarantine zones include a significant station, there will be no need for wider rail travel restrictions.
But panic is a strange thing, and the Italian government is jittery for several reasons.
I passed through Manchester Airport station today (not leaving the train), and a good number of the boarding passengers were wearing face masks, and kept them on for the rail journey.
 
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I read in the Times that the expectation of the worst case scenario is of 30 million infections in the UK which could lead to an additional 1.2 million deaths. Quarantine restrictions would bring the country to it's knees. Timing is everthing, and let's hope things don't develop quickly before the summer.
 

duesselmartin

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That would be a death rate way over the 0,5% currently seen and surpass anything that China has seen.
I could not find that article online. Do you have a link? Are there any sources given?
Corona will come, my own region in Germany now has a confirmed case with no obvious link to infected areas. I don't expect to die though.

Back to railways, I have not seen newa any major disinfections outside Venice.
 

duesselmartin

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but there is the problem in railway terms. People not booking because they are uncertain.
I have booked a holiday in Veneto for autumn I assume things are ok back then but trips in the nearer future cause more uncertainty
Personally I dont believe we will have a "Chinese" situation. Those restriction can easily be placed in an authotarian country but closing borders here, we don't even have the personell to do so.
 

MarkyT

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I suspect, if things get really bad, Schengen will be suspended and borders closed for a period, as well as suspension of air travel.
How many tens of thousands of additional guards will be required to close the literally thousands of small local border crossings now open across the continent? Would each of the many Belgian enclaves in Dutch Baarle-Hertog, a few containing only one dwelling, be assigned their own guard from each country to check their passports if someone was just going out to the pub or post office? And what about the Dutch counter-enclaves surrounded by their Belgian exclaves; that could represent at least two border crossings on the way to the coffee shop. Some houses have rooms in both countries. Would a passport be required to go to the bathroom?
 

FQTV

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Italy have quarantined towns, FWIW.

I think booking travel - other than an ATOL protected package holiday - at the moment would be very risky.
ATOL is a system to protect travellers whose arrangements are affected by a supplier going bust. It wouldn't apply here.

Credit card payment would cover you if the supplier was unable to deliver the service, and some travel insurance policies will.

most rail tickets and hotels can be cancelled at ease. So I would not be overly concerned. One can always stay safe and not leave the house, but that is not my option.
They can only be cancelled at no (or limited) penalty when the terms and conditions specifically permit that, and that usually means that the fare or rate will have been more expensive than the cheapest available.

If the terms and conditions are restrictive, then the traveller would usually have to rely on either card payment cover, travel insurance or a specific commercial policy from one or more of the suppliers involved.

For example, Marriott's latest commercial policy:

We are closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization’s statements regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and following the guidelines from these agencies and the local health departments. The wellbeing of our guests and associates is of paramount importance. We have extended the date that we are waiving cancellation fees for hotel stays through March 15, 2020 for guests with reservations at our hotels in Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan and guests from Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan traveling outbound to other Marriott destinations globally.
https://news.marriott.com/news/2020/02/19/marriotts-updated-statement-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19
 

Bletchleyite

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ATOL is a system to protect travellers whose arrangements are affected by a supplier going bust. It wouldn't apply here.
The reason I mentioned ATOL was that if this goes on for any length of time some travel companies may fail. If a company doesn't fail, if it is unable to deliver for whatever reason it will, as per consumer law, have to give you a refund or replacement dates. If Governments ban travel then flights will be cancelled so this kicks in.

The key to it being a package is that the whole thing is one product.

Yes, it's also prudent as you say to pay for any costly item by credit card.
 

sprunt

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The reason I mentioned ATOL was that if this goes on for any length of time some travel companies may fail. If a company doesn't fail, if it is unable to deliver for whatever reason it will, as per consumer law, have to give you a refund or replacement dates. If Governments ban travel then flights will be cancelled so this kicks in.
Getting into the realms of contractual law here, but if the government bans travel and shuts down Eurostar while the hotel rooms I've booked in Rotterdam, Cologne and Luxembourg in June sit empty but available to me if I show up, can it be said that the service I've paid for hasn't been provided? It's tough on me, but at the same time from the hotels' points of view I don't see why they should suffer financially.
 

FQTV

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The reason I mentioned ATOL was that if this goes on for any length of time some travel companies may fail. If a company doesn't fail, if it is unable to deliver for whatever reason it will, as per consumer law, have to give you a refund or replacement dates. If Governments ban travel then flights will be cancelled so this kicks in.

The key to it being a package is that the whole thing is one product.

Yes, it's also prudent as you say to pay for any costly item by credit card.
True, but I wouldn't want folks reading this to think that ATOL is some kind of catch-all, which is a risk.

The consumer law angle is also fraught with pitfall as, again, there are lots of specific circumstances in which the remedy may not be 'total'.

So, the terms and conditions of many package operators provide for these circumstances, and allow them to alter parts of the package so that, from their point of view, they can claim that they have discharged their responsibilities in full.

Whereas, if the components of a trip have been booked separately - say a train to Milan through NightJet and then a hotel stay there with Marriott, the fact that the NightJet might be cancelled does not mean that consumer law has any bearing on the contract with Marriott.

Indeed, in such circumstances, credit card protection is also not relevant to the Marriott part; the only chance of cost recovery would be through suitable travel insurance.

I'm sure that you know all this, but as I say, I'm always slightly concerned that others could potentially be reading this thread or finding it through Google, and be taking away from it that most travel arrangements can just be cancelled or that ATOL is anything other than insolvency protection, or even that credit card payment is as good as good travel insurance - none of which are true in absolute terms.
 

Bletchleyite

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Getting into the realms of contractual law here, but if the government bans travel and shuts down Eurostar while the hotel rooms I've booked in Rotterdam, Cologne and Luxembourg in June sit empty but available to me if I show up, can it be said that the service I've paid for hasn't been provided? It's tough on me, but at the same time from the hotels' points of view I don't see why they should suffer financially.
In the context of a package tour that's irrelevant, you have paid for the whole thing as one entity with one contract, so that would not apply. If the flights do not operate you'd get everything back. That's kind of the point of a package tour - you buy "a holiday" and someone else sorts out the other stuff.

If you booked a hotel yourself, that would be true; at the moment refundable hotel bookings would be well advisable.
 

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