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2 week quarantine vs negative test results

As of today, Austria is requiring arriving tourists in the airport to quarantine for two weeks or provide a valid negative test result and/or pay almost 200 Euros to get one to avoid the quarantine. My question is: should I try to get such a test just prior to flying (July 14)? I'd hate to arrive only to be told to spend my whole two weeks in quarantine. So far there is no word about such requirements from Germany and Switzerland, the other two countries I will be visiting.

Posted by
10292 posts

Were tourists allowed in as if today?

AFAIK, the first open border will be with Germany.

If you are living in the EU, UK, or Switzerland and arriving by air, the quarantine vs test results do apply to you. This doesn't apply to 3rd countries. Also, there is no mention of tourism only travel.

Posted by
7050 posts

It doesn't sound like you have enough information to take any definitive course of action at this point. I would wait until clearer guidance is published from all 3 countries; otherwise, you're just flying blind.

Posted by
11382 posts

What does Austria require, as to timing, of 'a valid negative test' ? ... and what is 'valid' to them?

Given the finite number of test kits, does 'travel' meet the criterion ( in your locale) of being eligible for testing, absent any symptoms?

And then there is the question of what restrictions the other countries may have on entry, especially for non EU folks.

A sniper trying to hit a target 300 yds away in the midst of a hurricane, is what your task looks like to me.

Posted by
3521 posts

If Austria will let you in, get the test done as close to departure as possible, if you want it done before you leave, just make sure it will be far enough in advance that you get the results before you board the plane. Unfortunately, there are so many different tests right now you may not know if the one you get will be accepted in Austria.

If it was me, I would wait until arrival and get the test done there. That way there will be no concern over whether or not the test is acceptable to Austria. Of course you risk the chance you do test positive and they send you home.

Posted by
995 posts

Seems to me that there is a lot of selection going on at the moment, much of it without any regards to the underlying legal framework.
- individual EU states cannot enter into independent international agreements
- Schengen members cannot unilaterally open their borders to tourism
- Schengen members can temporarily close their borders unilaterally for security reasons

What this means is that the only area in which member states can take unilateral decisions is in respect of non EU/EEA/CH citizens arriving in their country for a purpose other than tourism.

Everything else at the moment are just suggestions/proposals that will have to be discussed in the coming weeks and months...

Also remember the political aspect, there is at least €500b in play and being told you cannot open to tourism after you made the effort is a good way to claim your share if you are a southern member state.

Way too early for anything concrete right now.

Posted by
42 posts

I posted this topic because Austria was the only country on my itinerary so far that reported any kind of reference to tourism travel. My usual source is Of course there could be many changes and requirements before I'm due to travel. Austria is in the middle of my trip and I will be arriving and leaving by train. I was looking for some source to see travel updates as my travel date comes near. I will continue to check this source, just judging from the informed responses I've received so far.

Posted by
10292 posts

Sue—really glad to be able to give you the link. Hope it helps going forward.
These news sources are giving the false impression that things are good to go—euronews now added to the list with BBC and CNN.
Greece has opened the beaches, but only for Greeks so far. They say they are hoping for some Europeans. Italy is hoping for tourism from Italians and they say maybe a neighbor or two. Jim’s analysis of the political motivations is quite sharp.
France will be closed. There are daily news segments luring the French to fill the spots usually taken by other Europeans in the French mountains and seashores. There is no talk of welcoming the British, Germans, Dutch, or Belgiums this year. And this is all intra-European.

French family members, who have homes in both Austria and France, are counting on a quarantine in both Schengen countries this year as they come and go. Both countries are discouraging citizens and residents to move around. And they have 72 hours to pass through Italy, ot it’s another quarantine.
So Europe is not really open no matter how Euronews frames it. But September is four months away.

Posted by
23425 posts

How long is a negative test good for? It just proves your are negative at the time of the test. You could get infected an hour later. My personal opinion is that there are too many unknowns to travel at anytime this year.

Posted by
11382 posts

It just proves your are negative at the time of the test.

Assuming its one that has an accuracy rate of 90% or better.

News today had a report that many tests on the market are NOT government approved and have false report rates of nearly 50%.

Posted by
5035 posts

Have I missed something in the news today? Everything I've read to date has said that some of these countries are opening up to tourism by their own citizens, as well as citizens of specific other European countries in some cases. I haven't seen anywhere that Germany, Austria or Switzerland have any firm dates for allowing the entry of nonEU tourists. Current bans may only run to mid or late June now, but that doesn't mean they won't be extended.
Just like Canada is extending it's closure of the US border a month at a time.

Posted by
4535 posts

How long is a negative test go for? It just proves your are negative
at the time of the test. You could get infected an hour later.

Although it is a valid question to know just how recent a test must be to be accepted by the host country, the idea that one might catch the virus an hour after getting tested is kind of silly. If a country has opened its borders to tourism, THEY have decided that it is reasonable for tourists to visit and what parameters they require for people to visit.

I recommend getting tested BEFORE you go and with enough time to have the results. That allows you to know, reasonably, if you are positive before you fly. And even if once you arrive they make you take a another test, at least you will reasonably know that you will test negative.

Obviously it all depends on whether countries open their borders to Americans by then, if you can get a test "on demand" and if you are comfortable with taking the other mandated measures that each country and airline will have in place.

Posted by
740 posts

Keep in mind that a negative test does not even prove what most folk think it proves,
Testing Negative today does not prove you don’t have it. If you have no symptoms and a negative test it is still possible that you have the virus but are just not so far along that it shows up. If you get infected in your way to the test it will not instantly give you a positive result. You have to have the virus long enough to actually get it enough to give a positive test result,

Basicly you can’t prove a negative you can just not show a Positive.
And this gets worse when you consider the possibility of a false negative...

Posted by
2768 posts

If I were willing to travel now, I’d pay for the test on arrival. That way you know it’s one they accept, and it’s the most recent possible. And in many parts of the US you can’t get a test just because you are traveling - you need symptoms or exposure or be high risk (varies by location).

Questions I’d want answered:

-What if the test is positive? Do you go home? How (not very ethical to throw an infectious person on a flight...?). Quarantine there? Who pays/how do you get medical care?

-What if the test is negative but the guy in front of you on the plane is positive? Do you have to quarantine?

Posted by
23425 posts

There are no black or white answers -- just a lot of gray. And how much risk are you willing to assume? For us in the mid-70s, we are not willing to assume a lot of risk. There is nothing in travel that we are willing to put our lives on the line for. There is always next year or the year after. But since I was in the military in the late sixties, I probably have a different perspective on life and death than many others do. I rolled the dice a lot in 67/68 and always won. Cannot win forever. Someone else can roll the dice now, not I. Travel in 21, and especially 22 sounds good.

Posted by
1425 posts

The website for the US embassy in Austria has links to travel information to Austria. , The link most pertinent for you is:, Please note the following from that website: "International travel is currently limited or not possible at all. To enter Austria, the following regulations are in place until May 31st:

People travelling to Austria are obligated to produce a medical certificate proving a negative COVID-19 test result upon entry. The certificate cannot be older than 4 days when entering Austria. Without the certificate, entry will be denied. Transiting the Austrian territory without stopover is permitted. Austrian citizens or people with primary, secondary or habitual residence in Austria do not have to produce such a certificate if they commit to a 14-day quarantine in their place of residence.

Entry by air is prohibited to third country nationals from states outside the Schengen area. Third country nationals travelling from inside the Schengen area by air, have to carry a medical certificate proving a negative COVID-19 test result and are obligated to commit to a 14-day quarantine."

Obviously the situation is fluid and the requirements may change before you travel.