Six cases of the South African coronavirus variant were confirmed in South Tyrol this week. The country is now responding with strict measures, with four municipalities being largely cordoned off. The second largest city in the country, Merano, is also affected.
The state government dealt with the problem immediately on Tuesday, and Governor Arno Kompatscher (SVP) is expected to issue a corresponding decree on Wednesday, which will come into force on Thursday. The schools in the affected municipalities of Meran, St. Pankraz, Riffian and Moos in Passeier will remain closed for another two weeks and the students will have to go to distance learning.
In the rest of the country too, schools will start distance learning after the holidays. This was intended as a precaution, it said. This week the students are still in the semester break.
Measure applies from Thursday
The four affected communities are also to be further sealed off from Thursday. Leaving and entering the community will only be allowed in absolutely necessary cases. Affected persons must show a PCR or antigen test, which must not be older than 72 hours.
However, passage through these communities should be allowed. Otherwise the Ultental and the Passeier Valley would be cut off from the outside world and thus no longer accessible.
Additional mobile test stations are to be set up in these communities. However, not all municipalities can do this by Thursday. In Riffian, this service can only be offered on Friday, confirmed Mayor Franz Pixner. The time is just too short.
In the four municipalities, hairdressers and cosmetic studios are also to be closed, work on construction sites is only allowed if these are urgent and industrial companies must also close if they are not required for supplies.