Jochberg – After 17 suspected cases of the British coronavirus mutation became known in Jochberg, the authorities are now determining whether all the requirements for the ski training course, which the largely British citizens had completed, were complied with. This was announced by State Office Director Herbert Forster at a press conference following the government meeting on Wednesday.
Forster emphasized that the course was offered through a ski academy in Salzburg and has nothing to do with the Tyrolean Ski School Act. The fact is that the last Briton entered Austria via Munich on December 18. The Tyrolean authorities therefore assumed that the British were legally residing in Austria, especially since they were still treated as EU citizens at the time. The landing ban was also only issued later and an existing entry ban had not yet existed at that time.
Governor Günther Platter (ÖVP) was not happy about the circumstances of the stay of the mostly British citizens. “It is unnecessary that such alleged training courses are currently taking place,” said Platter. Especially since this was sometimes used as a cover for other activities. If the holding of the course was not legally in order, action should be taken “with the utmost severity”, stressed the country manager. If it was okay, you had to think about changing the law.
It was not yet possible to determine where the 17 people were infected. However, it is possible that one of these troops was already infected when they entered the country and then passed this infection on to the other members of the group, explained infectiologist Günter Weiss.
Ski school director doesn’t understand excitement
The group called ski instructor candidates, who are doing their training in Salzburg and living in Jochberg, is housed in three employee houses of a ski school in Jochberg. They traveled to Tyrol between October 31 and December 18 for professional purposes and wanted to work as a ski instructor in Jochberg over the winter. This is explained by the head of the ski school Alois Reichholf, in whose accommodation they live. Opinions are divided about this, however – see info box at the end of the article.
Reichholf emphasizes, however, that it is not about his employees, but about people who wanted to complete their training in Tyrol. So far you have taken a preparatory course, and further training should follow. “They would only have worked for me after completing this training and at the start of the season.” According to him, one person fell ill on January 1st, “but she has been in Tyrol since October, she cannot get the virus from England have brought with them ”, suspects the ski school director. In addition, the quarantine of those affected ends today, so he cannot understand the excitement. The tests in the other two accommodations all gave negative results.
📽️ Video | Suspected British virus mutation in Tyrol:
So far all negative at Jochberger mass test
However, the authorities play it safe and are now asking all Jochbergers to be tested. “Yesterday we had a video conference with the ministry, the state of Tyrol and the district authority and then we arranged everything that was necessary,” says Mayor Günter Resch when asked by TT. Yesterday the community hastily created a mail to inform the local population. The fire department then distributed the leaflet to every household.
As of Wednesday morning, 191 corona tests had been carried out in the community. All were negative, said the head of the country’s Corona task force, Elmar Rizzoli, of the APA. The lively test readiness in the village made him positive, reported Mayor Resch. “The test center is very, very well attended”.
📽️ Video | Mayor Günter Resch (FPÖ):
Around 1,500 people from Jochberg can still do a PCR test using an oral swab until 7 p.m. in the Kultursaal in Jochberg. “We are well prepared,” says Markus Krenn from the Red Cross Kitzbühel. Testing is also possible in the Covid-Testraße at Schwarzsee in Kitzbühel. For this purpose, a telephone registration via the health hotline 1450 is necessary.
Im Jochberger Corona-Cluster werden 24 Fälle ausgewiesen. Bei 17, großteils Briten, besteht der Verdacht auf die britische Virus-Mutation.
© Angerer Harald
Rumors of New Years Eve Party
Where the first sick person was infected is still unclear and is currently being collected by the health authorities. This is also a puzzle for the ski school director. “They hardly have any contact with others because everything is closed anyway,” says Reichholf.
In Jochberg, however, rumors of a New Year’s Eve party for the ski instructors are also making the rounds. The mayor denies that. “At the beginning there were problems with the group due to noise pollution. After a warning, however, there were no more complaints. I don’t know anything about a New Year’s Eve party, ”says Resch. In addition, it was not the employee house in which the corona cases then appeared.
It will be clear in a week whether this is the more contagious but not more dangerous British virus mutation. The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) is now carefully checking the virus composition. (TT.com, aha)
The British just learned to ski better
Opinions are still divided about whether the British have been in Jochberg for “vacation” or for training purposes since October. Because only the Ski Instructors Association offers official ski instructor training in Tyrol. “The infected people from Great Britain did not take part in any training course run by the ski instructors ‘association or registered for a training course,” stated Christian Abenthung, the managing director of the Tyrolean ski instructors’ association. The ski instructor association has not carried out a ski instructor training or a ski instructor training in Jochberg since October.
Rather, the British have so far taken part in a preparatory course at the “Ski Instructor Academy” based in Taxenbach, Salzburg. This is touted as the “legendary aspirant ski instructor program”. Apparently the Vienna Ski Instructors Association works closely with this academy. It then enables training. Until then, they just learn to ski better. In addition: Ski lessons have been severely restricted since December 24th and are only allowed for people from one household, says Abenthung. Before that, it wasn’t even possible because the ski areas had to close on November 3rd.
Whether the preparatory course is one of the Corona exceptions for professional training purposes, as the Jochberg ski school director Alois Reichholf emphasizes, is still the subject of the official examination. However, the British, Spanish, Irish and Estonians have registered with their main residence in Jochberg. When entering Austria, the British all had a negative corona test. From December 22nd, a landing ban for British aircraft in Tyrol was imposed.
The infection should have occurred in Tyrol. How is still unclear. Were there any visitors during the Christmas holidays that the authorities have not yet been aware of when following up contacts? Did the infection take place in the village itself? In addition to the samples from Jochberg, other people from the Kitzbühel and Kufstein districts were also found to have an unusual PCR profile that is now being examined for the British virus. Lately there have been more positive cases in the Kitzbühel district, but according to the head of the state crisis team, Elmar Rizzoli, a disproportionate increase has not yet been determined.
The fact that the Austrian embassy gave Austrians living in Great Britain tips on how to circumvent the landing ban also caused a stir on Tuesday. (pn)