Roundup: Austria gov’t sued over ski resort cases, Dutch PCR swabs exported
Madrid Desk, Sep 23 (efe-epa).- An Austrian consumer rights group has filed civil lawsuits against the government for its alleged mishandling of a Covid-19 outbreak at a popular ski resort while a top German virologist warned the pandemic was far from over.
The Netherlands has begun a program to export some PCR swab tests for analysis in the United Arab Emirates to alleviate pressure on domestic laboratories, authorities in Madrid will call on the military to help with testing and the United Kingdom’s government said it would not rule out another lockdown if infections continued to rise.
The Austrian Consumer Protection Association (VSV) has filed four civil lawsuits against the government for alleged negligence linked to an outbreak of coronavirus at the Ischgl ski resort in Tyrol.
Thousands of tourists contracted Covid-19 at the resort, known as the Ibiza of the Alps for its party scene, in March this year and the outbreak was linked to secondary outbreaks in 45 different countries.
The VSV said it hoped to present a class action lawsuit on behalf of a thousand claimants.
Around 6,000 others had signed up for more potential class action suits, it added.
More than 6,000 people were infected by the Ischgl ski resort outbreak. At least 32 of those died.
In a press conference, the head of VSV Peter Kolba said that the organization did not trust the regional prosecutors in Tyrol and was looking for ways to fund the legal action.
The vast majority of the Ischgl cases were related to German tourists.
Prominent German virologist and government advisor Christian Drosten on Wednesday warned that the Covid-19 pandemic had only just begun and that real change was needed to confront it.
“The real pandemic is coming now. Here also,” Drosten, the head of the virology department at Berlin’s Charite hospital, said.
“At most, we can talk about lessons from the first wave in Europe,” he added in an interview ahead of the World Health Summit in Berlin next month.
He said it was necessary to inform the public of the threat still posed by the virus and warned against the politicization of the pandemic.
Drosten, who has become the face of Germany’s coronavirus response, said the country’s relative success in keeping the pandemic under control lay in the fact it reacted some “four weeks” before other nations.
German health authorities reported 1,769 infections in the last 24 hours.
Dutch health authorities will send swabs used for PCR testing for analysis in Abu Dhabi as domestic laboratories have reached maximum capacity.
The overall caseload since the pandemic began rose to nearly 100,000 in the Netherlands on Wednesday.