Concerns about new restrictions across the European Union caused British airlines and travel agencies to lose more than 2 billion euros last week, as the Austrian government announced a national lockdown due to an increase in positive COVID-19 cases.
Other EU countries, possibly Germany, may impose similar rules for their nationals and international arrivals, which could impact the travel and tourism sector significantly, TheSchengen.com reports.
According to the Guardian newspaper, the share of IAG, owner of British Airways, fell by 3.8 percent, losing nearly 356 million euros from the company’s market value. However, the markets that saw the biggest losses in the FTSE 100 included Rolls-Royce, which was down nearly four percent, as well as Germany-based entities Whitbread Group and Intercontinental Hotels.
Other companies affected by negative investor sentiment also include airlines EasyJet, Ryanair, Lufthansa and Wizz Air, as well as operators Tui and Carnival.
High number of cases [in Austria] It far exceeded last year’s peak. While deaths are still well below their peak, they are accelerating and the government is clearly keen to stop them before the situation gets much worse. With Germany seeing a similar trend, the question now is whether the region’s largest economy will follow the same path, Craig Erlam, chief market analyst at trading firm Oanda, told The Guardian.
Last week, German authorities indicated that the country was facing a national emergency, and that they were considering the option of a national lockdown to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
He also indicated that the situation is still calmer in other countries such as France, Italy and Spain, but that may change in the coming days as witnessed last year. Higher vaccination rates mean infection and death rates from COVID-19 are lower, but the increasing number of cases is hard to ignore.
Following the statements of German representatives and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the United States warned its citizens against traveling to Germany for the time being, issuing “Level Four: Do not travel” advice. In addition, the Czech Republic was also quick to respond as its authorities had already added Germany to its dark red category.
World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that Germany has reported 340,509 positive cases of COVID-19 in the past seven days, as well as 1,409 virus-related deaths.
High rates of infection have also been reported in Austria, with 98,301 positive cases recorded in the past week and 11,606 deaths. More than half of the population in both countries has been fully vaccinated; 67.55 out of 100 in Germany and 63.85 in Austria.