All three resorts in the Tirol have been under strict quarantine since March 13th.   Extensive testing has revealed the resorts are still hotbeds of the virus with widespread infections.

Government coronavirus advice

Government coronavirus advice

Almost 3,000 tests for Covid-19 have been carried out in Ischgl, St Anton and Soelden.

That is more than a third of the towns’ combined population of roughly 8,100.

Roughly two-thirds of those tests have been assessed so far.

19% of those tested in Ischgl have had the virus and 13% in St Anton.

On that basis the health authorities have decided to keep the strict quarantine measures in place for another two weeks

“Due to the continued existence of infection chains, on the advice of medical experts, we have no choice but to extend the quarantines for the Paznaun Valley and St Anton for a further two weeks until April 26,” said the governor of the Tirol, Guenther Platter, in a statement issued by his provincial government.

In Soelden in the Oztal Valley 40% of the test results are not yet available and a decision is expected shortly once the results are in.

The other resorts, villages, towns and cities in the Tirol had some of their restrictions lifted last week.

Tirol lifts some of its coronavirus restrictions.

The resorts saw some of the first and fastest spreading outbreaks of the virus and questions have been raised about whether the resorts, in particular Ischgl, did enough at the time.

Austria has been one the most successful countries in Europe is dealing with the virus.

Perhaps the most successful so far.

It has mainly achieved this through a swift and decisive lockdown, that was strictly policed.

We know of one cyclist being fined €3,500 for breaking the rules on exercise and travel

So far Austria has recorded 350 deaths from 13, 946 cases.

6,987 people have recovered.

Tourists were allowed to leave the three resorts after the March 13th lockdown and were escorted direct to airports.

Here on PlanetSKI we had a first-hand account from one of our reporters, George Eykyn, who was in St Anton.

Exodus from Austria and the confusion about whether and how to self-isolate

George Eykyn

George Eykyn

He contracted the virus in the resort and has been fighting, and recovering, at home in the UK.

“In St Anton, there was already a strong awareness of Coronavirus. The hotel front desk sported a large bottle of hand sanitiser. People pressed the lift buttons with their gloves, or elbows,” said George.

“After a few days I’d developed a slight cough. It was no different to the kind of cough you sometimes get staying in a dry, predominantly wooden building in the Alps. I thought nothing of it. It would get worse later.

“The other thing I notice in hindsight, is early signs of shortness of breath. If you’ve just skied down several hundred meters of waist-deep off-piste snow with your group, it’s normal to be blowing a bit when you pause; but reflecting now, I was a bit more out of puff than normal.

“By the Wednesday, people were talking about the nearby resort of Ischgl which had announced it was closing from the next weekend, because of the virus.

“Then at 3pm on the Friday, my last day skiing, the authorities suddenly imposed a quarantine  in St Anton, closing the resort and its lift system, which caught people by surprise.

“Tourists were allowed out through the police and army checkpoints, with official paperwork.

“As I made my own trip home next day (thanks to some very professional Inghams staff), I still didn’t think I had anything more than that slight tickly cough I’d previously sometimes got from staying in alpine chalets and hotels.

“Nonetheless, I resolved to stay at home for at least a week as instructed.”

It proved to be a good decision by George as he developed the symptoms.

Later this week we will have a full report from George on his experiences with coronavirus  in our special rolling blog.

Many foreign seasonal workers had to stay in the resorts to complete a two-week quarantine.

They have since been allowed to leave.

Here on PlanetSKI we will update you on the news about Soelden as soon as a decision is taken.