Published on Friday, March 27, 2020

Austrian ski resort under investigation for possible coronavirus cover up


A criminal investigation could be launched into a possible cover up of a coronavirus outbreak at an Austrian ski resort where the first ever British person might have become infected.

The Tyrolean resort of Ischgl, which is particularly popular with middle-aged skiers due to its high-end, quality hotels and lively apres-ski scene, has reportedly been linked to hundreds of coronavirus cases in Germany, Iceland, Norway and Denmark as well as Austria.

British skier Dare Bland, aged 50, told the Telegraph he believes he might have also caught the virus during a ski trip to Ischgl in mid-January, more than a month before the first documented incidence of the transmission within Britain.

Bland told the paper he and three friends, two from Denmark and one from Minnesota in America, fell ill on their return with classic coronavirus symptoms, which he then passed onto his wife and children at home in East Sussex.

None has been tested for the virus, but Bland believes he might have contracted it in one of Ischgl's packed bars, where guests were playing 'beer pong', a drinking game which involves taking it in turns to spit a ping-pong ball into a beer glass.

Prosecutors in Austria are now considering opening an investigation into whether a case in Ischgl was reported too late.

According to reports, the inquiry would focus on claims that a worker fell ill at the resort in February.

Other popular ski regions in Tyrol, including the much better known resort of St Anton, have also emerged as hotspots for virus, which led to a complete lockdown of the province last week.

Austria has reported nearly 4,000 cases with 21 deaths so far.

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