Investigation in connection with the outbreak of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in early 2020 in the Austrian ski resort of Ischgl has been terminated. As it became known on Wednesday, November 24, the Innsbruck prosecutor’s office decided not to press charges against the five suspects. “There is no evidence that anyone has committed a criminal act or has committed negligence that could lead to an increase in the risk of infection,” the agency said in a statement.
The decision of the prosecutor’s office is criticized
The Vienna-based Austrian Consumer Protection Association (VSV), which supports the plaintiffs, has criticized the decision of the Austrian prosecutor’s office. According to its leader, Peter Kolba, “one gets the impression that in this case one has to deal with an attempt to hush up the scandalous failure of the authorities.” Previously, the VSV suggested that up to 3,000 lawsuits could be filed against the Austrian authorities.
Compensation demanded from Austria
A trial began at the Vienna State Court on September 17, in which the plaintiffs – relatives of a man who died from COVID-19 – demanded compensation in the amount of 100 thousand euros from the Austrian authorities. A representative of the Austrian authorities then said that the claim should be recognized as unfounded, since the anti-epidemiological measures taken at the ski resorts corresponded to the level of knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 at that time. As VSV reported on November 23, the court hearings were postponed to March 2022 due to the pandemic.
The Ischgl resort, located in the federal state of Tyrol and especially popular with German, Scandinavian and Russian ski lovers, in February-March 2020 became a hotbed of the spread of coronavirus. The resort was closed only two weeks after the local authorities received the first information about the infection of tourists.
The German weekly Der Spiegel estimates that more than 11,000 people have been infected since the outbreak in the Ischgl resort. About 30 of them have died from COVID-19 and related complications.