US News Scandal of Ischgl: the management of the pandemic in the courts in Austria
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Friday opens to Vienna the first trial of A long series brought by families bereaved by COVID-19 in the Austrian Alps at the very beginning of the pandemic, and which point the responsibility of the authorities.
More than 6,000 people from 45 countries say they or their loved ones were contaminated in the Crested station of Ischgl or in the vicinity due to negligence and chaotic management in March 2020.
the hearing, which must begin. At 10:00 (08:00 GMT), inaugurates a judicial marathon for a tentacular file: about fifteen legal actions are already identified. The judges will look at the complaint filed by the Austrian Sieglinde Schopf. It was a year and a half ago: her husband for nearly 50 years went to join the snowy slopes of the Tyrol station, from which the virus has spread like a powder trail in Europe.
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© Joe Klamar At the station, Sieglinde Schopf remembers to have tight in his arms for the last time. A few weeks later, Hannes, a fervent 72-year-old skier, died Covid-19, alone in a hospital room near Vienne.
"My world collapsed", confided in April to AFP the septuagenarian who still wants to have encouraged him to take a getaway. "I can not forgive me because in the end, I sent it to death."
- Reaction "Late" -
His lawyer Alexander Klaureser believes that the list of failures is long.
According to a report of independent experts, a first alert issued by 5 March by Iceland, which was alarmed with the return of contaminated tourists to Ischgl, was ignored. The skiers continued to pile up in the cable cabs, while in the evening the party was filled in the valleys.
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"On March 8, it was clearly established that the tourist staff of Ischgl had contracted the virus, but this time again the reaction was too weak, too slow, too late", denounces the lawyer, while the virus Already flamed on the other side of the border in Italy.© Joe Klamar He believes that everything has been done to minimize the formation of a cluster and allow the season to continue as if Nothing was.
A few days later, the Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz decreed a local confinement and asked thousands of tourists to leave the premises in a few hours, which according to the victims and their relatives would have precipited the disaster.
Sieglinde Schopf is convinced that her husband has been exposed to the virus during this evacuation. She claims to the state 100.000 euros of damages.
- "Admitting a responsibility" -
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"What the civilian parties want is that the Republic of Austria admits its responsibility - we had no sign in this way so far," says Klaurer. This refusal "prolongs" the suffering of relatives, he insists.
Among the thousands of people affected, about 5% would have suffered from a long COVID, with headaches, sleep disorders and shortness of breath. In total, 32 people died, according to the VSV consumer association, which gathers the procedures.
While expressing their sympathy for the victims, the authorities deny any failure, considering having acted in the state of the knowledge at their disposal at that time.
contacted by AFP, the Office of Prosecutors, which represents the State, refused "any comment on a current procedure".
In this scandal, five people, including Werner Kurz, the Mayor of Ischgl, are investigated for "intentional administration or neglect of transmissible disease affecting the physical or psychic integrity of others" .
The prosecutor of Innsbruck, the title of Tyrol, transmitted the file to the Ministry of Justice, without knowing whether criminal prosecution will finally be engaged.
JSK / BG / ANB / YBL
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