Documents suggest virus was downplayed at Austria resort

Documents suggest virus was downplayed at Austria resort

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Official communications and minutes of meetings seen by AFP suggest authorities in the Austrian state of Tyrol downplayed a notorious coronavirus outbreak in one of its ski resorts in March.

Ischgl, known for its lively apres-ski scene, was at the centre of an outbreak of the coronavirus in Tyrol in which more than 6,000 tourists from 45 countries say they became infected.

Documents regarding the outbreak seen by AFP run to thousands of pages of messages and emails between officials as well as minutes of meetings. One of the most damning passages concerns Ischgl’s Kitzloch bar.

On March 7, a bartender there tested positive for the virus, making him the first case to be confirmed at the resort.

The next morning, Anita Luckner-Hornischer, an official with the Tyrol medical authority, is quoted in the minutes of the state’s crisis management team as saying: “Probably we can expect many cases in connection with the bar.”

However, just hours afterwards the state of Tyrol sent out a press release with a different message through its public relations department, which had taken over all of the state’s communications relating to the virus.

“A transmission of the virus onto the guests of the bar is, from a medical point of view, rather unlikely,” Luckner-Hornischer is quoted as saying in the press

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