Home Winter boots Court rules tourist may be entitled to compensation after catching Covid-19 in Ischgl ski area, Austria

Court rules tourist may be entitled to compensation after catching Covid-19 in Ischgl ski area, Austria

Party scene at the ski resort of Ischgl, Austria

The Higher Regional Court of Vienna in Austria ruled on Monday that a German tourist may be entitled to compensation after catching covid-19 in the ski resort of Ischgl in March 2020, Politico reports. The decision overturned an earlier decision to dismiss the complaint.

The man blamed the Austrian authorities for the mishandling of the coronavirus at the start of the pandemic. He claimed damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses and loss of profits.

The ruling says Austrian authorities were responsible for “illegal and culpable information” and failed to provide “correct and complete” information about imminent dangers. The decision could result in a lot of compensation.

Austrian national and local authorities have been blamed for their slow response to the coronavirus outbreak in Ischgl, the ski resort that has become the epicenter of the disease in Europe. 32 covid-related deaths have been traced in the region.

“Major miscalculations” were made by local authorities in Tyrol, Austria, when the first positive tests were carried out in the seaside resort of Ischgl, which reacted too slowly, said Ronald Rohrer, president of the commission of experts set up to examine the response to the epidemic.

“From March 8, a correct assessment should have led to the closing of bars, the stopping of ski lifts and an orderly management of departures…”

– Ronald Rohrer

It’s not just local authorities under scrutiny, Rohrer also criticized poor communications from officials at local and national levels. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced a quarantine from March 13 without explaining that foreign visitors would be allowed to leave. This led to mass panic with tourists fleeing Ischgl to avoid a lockdown rather than waiting for an organized evacuation, which ultimately led to the massive spread of the virus across Europe.

“The Chancellor announced the quarantine when it was not his job, surprisingly and without adequate preparation. This created a panic reaction among guests and workers. Some of the guests jumped into their cars with their ski boots still on, and rental skis were thrown into store entrances.

– Ronald Rohrer

Ischgl, Austria,
Ischgl piste map

The first lawsuits brought by people who claim to have contracted coronavirus in the ski resort of Ischgl in Austria begin in October 2021. More than 6,000 people from across Europe, including 28 from the United States, have contacted officials regarding a class action lawsuit against the Austrian ski resort at the center of a criminal investigation that seeks to pin the blame on local authorities for their handling of the epidemic, and first try to bury it. Nearly 1,000 of them are joining a class action.

“In individual cases, we are talking about claims of €100,000 ($118,000).”

– Peter Kolba, President of the Austrian Consumer Protection Association (VSV)

Apparently, Ischgl’s local ski resort – Silvretta Mountain – was allowed to stay open for a week after the resort learned it had a coronavirus outbreak. On March 4, several Icelandic nationals tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Ischgl. CNN reports that Iceland warned Austrian authorities that the travelers had contracted the coronavirus in Ischgl, but by then it was already too late – the virus was already in full swing in the Alps. Some suggest the initial outbreak could have dated back further than the first week of March.

On March 24, Austrian prosecutors opened an investigation into allegations that a suspected infection at the station was covered up as early as February, The Telegraph reported. They said they were investigating possible negligence over the delay in closing the resort and were investigating a complaint of “reckless endangerment of people through infectious disease”.

After the Icelandic warning on March 4, the Austrian authorities allowed the ski resort to operate for nine more days before completely quarantining the resort March 13. Tyrol’s medical authority had issued a statement on March 8, saying there was “no reason to worry”.

Ischgl, Austria

Austrian media have accused business owners in Ischgl of “deliberately spreading the virus” by putting tourism revenue ahead of public health. Ischgl and its surroundings welcome around 500,000 visitors each winter.

“Greed has taken precedence over responsibility for the health of the community and guests.”

– The Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard.

City officials, however, deny the claims, insisting they adhered to all public health warnings issued by the Austrian government and have since broken their silence and released their own timeline of events.

The delay caused a political storm and the Austrian government promised to investigate on the grounds that “mistakes may have been made” in handling the crisis.

Austria, Ischgl, Tirol, trial
The Kitzloch Bar, Ischgl.

Questions about what authorities and officials knew and when they knew it are at the heart of criminal proceedings. High-ranking politicians, mayors, hotel owners and powerful representatives of the ski industry are alleged to put economic interests ahead of public safety.

“They had good reasons to cover it up, and those reasons are financial.”

– Peter Kolba, President of the Austrian Consumer Protection Association

A class action lawsuit will likely hinge “on whether there were culpable and unlawful actions by the authorities,” Heinz Mayer, former dean of the University of Vienna Law School, told The Washington Post. .

One of the travelers seeking to join the trial is a New Jersey man who claims to have transmitted the virus to his father who later died of COVID-19 three weeks later.

A university study showed that 42% of Ischgl residents had antibodies against Covid-19, giving the region the highest COVID infection rate in the world.

“The seroprevalence of participants in the Ischgl study is 42.4%. We are dealing with Ischgl with the highest seroprevalence ever proven in a study. Even if at this rate collective immunity cannot be assumed, the population of Ischgl should be protected (from the virus) to a large extent.

– Dorothee von Laer, director of the Institute of Virology at the Medical University of Innsbruck

The prevalence rate was the highest recorded in the scientific literature to date, said Dorothee van Laer, a virologist at the Medical University of Innsbruck who led the study. Similar studies conducted nearby have found much lower infection rates, for example, Groeden in Switzerland with 27% and Geneva with 10%.