Austria briefly halts trains from Italy over COVID-19

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Askin Kiyagan

VIENNA (AA) – Austria lifted a brief ban on train services with Italy late Sunday after two travelers tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

“The official block on the Brenner Pass has been lifted,” Austria’s state-operated rail company OBB said on Twitter, referring to a key route between the two countries.

The Austria Press Agency (APA) reported earlier that two possible cases of the coronavirus had been discovered on a train traveling from Italy to southern Germany.

The train was halted in Brenner Pass and not permitted to enter Austria.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told APA that Austrian authorities would get in contact with their Italian counterparts regarding the future of train, those aboard and measures to be taken.

The passengers later tested negative for the virus, officially known as COVID-19, according to Austria’s Interior Ministry.

The deadly coronavirus has so far claimed three lives in Italy and there are at least 152 confirmed cases.

In China, the epicenter of the virus, the death toll from the outbreak reached 2,444 Sunday with over 76,000 confirmed cases.

More than 18,260 people have been discharged from hospitals after receiving treatment.

The coronavirus has spread to more than 25 other countries including the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain and India.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak an international health emergency.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas