- Title: Relatives of man who died of COVID-19 after Ischgl ski trip sue Austria
- Date: 17th September 2021
- Summary: VIENNA, AUSTRIA (SEPTEMBER 17, 2021) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF COURT BUILDING PEOPLE WALKING UP STAIRS INSIDE ALEXANDER KLAUSER (LAWYER REPRESENTING VICTIM'S WIDOW AND SON), ULRICH SCHOPF (VICTIM'S SON) AND PETER KOLBA (FOUNDER OF CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSOCIATION, VSV) ENTERING COURTROOM AND SITTING DOWN ULRICH SCHOPF SEATED IN FOREGROUND, KOLBA AND KLAUSER TO HIS RIGHT CAMERA CREWS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS KLAUSER SPEAKING TO SCHOPF SCHOPF, KOLBA AND KLAUSER SEATED AS REPRESENTATIVES FOR THE REPUBLIC OF AUSTRIA ENTER AND KLAUSER INTRODUCES HIMSELF TO THEM REPRESENTATIVES FOR THE REPUBLIC OF AUSTRIA SEATED LEGAL BOOKS ON TABLE COURTROOM COURT OFFICIAL WALKING INTO COURTROOM AND CLOSING DOOR, SEEN FROM HALLWAY (SOUNDBITE) (German) LAWYER REPRESENTING VICTIM'S WIDOW AND SON, ALEXANDER KLAUSER, SAYING: "Today's trial is about the damage claims by the relatives of Mr. Johann Schopf who arrived in Ischgl for a ski holiday on March 7, 2020. On Friday, March 13, 2020 he returned home. A few days later he developed symptoms and tested positive for COVID. He fell so ill that unfortunately, he died a short while later. The plaintiffs are his widow and his son." STAIRCASE (SOUNDBITE) (German) LAWYER REPRESENTING VICTIM'S WIDOW AND SON, ALEXANDER KLAUSER, SAYING: "The first accusation is that Austrian health authorities clearly already had knowledge on Wednesday, March 4 and on Thursday, March 5, 2020 that the coronavirus had arrived in Ischgl." REPORTERS AND CAMERA CREWS IN HALLWAY (SOUNDBITE) (German) LAWYER REPRESENTING VICTIM'S WIDOW AND SON, ALEXANDER KLAUSER, SAYING: "Business closures happened very reluctantly. It was already known that a waiter at the Kitzloch apres-ski bar had tested positive for coronavirus. Yet, all that happened was a disinfection of the site and an alleged personnel swap before the Kitzloch was allowed to reopen."
- Embargoed: 1st October 2021 11:35
- Keywords: COVID-19 coronavirus superspreader event Ischgl ski resort apres-ski courtcase death infection party town relatives trial opening victims
- Location: ISCHGL & VIENNA, AUSTRIA
- City: ISCHGL & VIENNA, AUSTRIA
- Country: Austria
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Europe,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA002EV3W8XZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Austrian authorities, in a trial which opened in Vienna on Friday (September 17), stand accused of responding too slowly to the coronavirus outbreak at the ski resort of Ischgl in early 2020.
The outbreak at Ischgl was Austria's biggest and helped spread the virus across Europe.
Hundreds of Austrians were infected and thousands of foreign tourists say they were too as the virus found a breeding ground in crowded apres-ski bars at the resort, a party hotspot that branded itself the "Ibiza of the Alps".
In the case, the first of more than a dozen civil lawsuits brought by a consumer rights group, the widow and son of a man who died after being exposed to the coronavirus in Ischgl are seeking 100,000 euros ($117,780) in damages from the Austrian government.
The private Consumer Protection Association (VSV), which has brought the case against the government, says authorities mishandled the response to the outbreak, possibly giving in to pressure from the tourism sector not to act initially.
"Business closures happened very reluctantly," the plaintiffs' lawyer Alexander Klauser told reporters.
"It was already known that a waiter at the Kitzloch apres-ski bar had tested positive for coronavirus. Yet, all that happened was a disinfection of the site and an alleged personnel swap before the Kitzloch was allowed to reopen," said Klauser.
The authorities in the province of Tyrol say they responded appropriately given what was known at the time.
Ischgl's first case was detected on March 7, 2020, days after Iceland said that tourists had been infected there and 11 days after Austria's first infections were confirmed.
Austria's public health agency has since said it believes the virus arrived in Ischgl far earlier, on Feb. 5.
(Production: Leonhard Foeger, Michele Sani)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None