Both Austrian Federal Railways (OEBB) and Deutsche Bahn have suspended passenger rail services to Italy via the Brenner Pass across the Alps, which connects Innsbruck to Bolzano, as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Both companies say they are acting on the instruction of the authorities. This suspension affects only passenger services. Freight services are still running.
The Deutsche Bahn service affected by the instruction is the EC line 89, which connects Munich to Bologna via Innsbruck and Verona. These trains will now stop in Innsbruck.
OEBB long-distance services into Italy will now halt in Innsbruck or Villach. Night trains to/from Italy will start/stop in Villach. There will be no local passenger rail services crossing between Austria and Italy. OEBB says all passengers with tickets for travel dates between now and 3 April can get a full refund. Deutsche Bahn has also expanded its refund policy to make sure passengers are not left out of pocket.
The travel restrictions between Austria and Italy are not just for rail. Car passengers are having their temperature taken and are being asked to give their contact details. The most important goal of these measures is to slow the spread of the virus as much as possible because that will give healthcare systems the ability to cope and treat patients.
To this end Deutsche Bahn is increasing its on-the-go cleaning schedules on long-distance trains from every four hours to every two hours. It will hire additional staff in the coming weeks to help with this measure. The German state rail operator says the use of soaps and disinfectants has risen by up to 20 percent in its trains.
On 11 March the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy is 10,149, in Austria is 182 and in Germany is 1,296.
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