Investigations after the corona outbreak in Ischgl stopped

Status: 11/24/2021 2:32 p.m.

While victim representatives continue to speak of a government scandal, the public prosecutor’s office has ended its investigation into the chaos after the Ischgl Corona outbreak: There was no “culpable” behavior.

The Innsbruck public prosecutor closed the criminal investigation into the spread of corona in the Austrian ski resort of Ischgl in spring 2020. The agency said there was no evidence “that someone culpably did or failed to do something that would have increased the risk of infection.” The result was checked by the Innsbruck Public Prosecutor, the Ministry of Justice and finally by the so-called instruction council.

In March 2020, Ischgl was also considered a hotspot for the spread of the coronavirus because of its après-ski scene. The place and the entire Paznaun Valley in which it is located were finally quarantined under sometimes chaotic circumstances. Winter sports enthusiasts who returned to their home countries spread the virus across Europe. In Ischgl and other Tyrolean winter sports locations, more than 6,000 people from 45 countries were infected with the corona virus that month. 32 of the infected died.

Measures checked after becoming known

The investigation had targeted five public officials. The measures were examined more closely after the first cases of infection became known, the ordinances on the closure of restaurants and ski operations as well as the other traffic restrictions in Ischgl and the quarantine in the Paznaun Valley.

The authorities had been accused of having responded too late and inadequately. An expert report that has already been presented saw no failure, but incorrect assessments: the authorities had indeed reacted too slowly and insufficiently vigorously after they had been warned from Iceland that returnees had tested positive. Pressure from the tourism industry on decision-makers was not found.

The resort’s après-ski bars are considered a starting point for the first Corona wave in Europe.

Image: dpa

Victim representative: “Failure of the authorities should be covered up”

Regardless of the current decision, numerous civil proceedings are pending before the Vienna Regional Court, in which, among other things, the relatives of German victims are suing for damages. There was criticism from the consumer protection association (VSV), which she represents. “I have the impression that an official scandal is to be largely hushed up,” said VSV board member Peter Kolba.

The association will do everything possible to expose the “multiple organ failure” of the authorities. Serious administrative errors could be completely proven in the files.

The public prosecutor apparently only investigated errors at the level of the state of Tyrol, but did not take into account errors by the federal government, said Kolba. He had repeatedly demanded that the investigation be extended to the former Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the former Health Minister Rudolf Anschober and Interior Minister Karl Nehammer and others. However, Kolba flashed motions to the judges.

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