Covid on January 17-23 | 500,000 Police Checks Conducted Since January 11

The coronavirus is shaping our lives. Here’s everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Austria this week – updated regularly.

January 21

News from Austria

  • A subvariant of Omicron BA.2 is quickly being spread in Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom and has already overtaken the previous dominant variant Omicron BA.1 in Denmark.
    • Not much is known about the new variant, according to the geneticist Ulrich Elling.
    • The spike protein of the two Omicron variants differs significantly.
    • BA.2 has developed 18 new mutations, Omicron BA.1 developed only 8 when compared to the Delta variant.
    • The Omicron BA.2 has also recently been in Austria during a routine wastewater analysis.
    • In Omicron variant BA.1 has caused cases to decrease and now with BA.2 becoming the dominant variant this trend is getting reversed.
    • Similar trends are emerging in the United Kingdom, according to the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology(IMBA) and the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

  • The parliament has approved the vaccination mandate in this Thursday’s session.
    • The legislation has passed with an overwhelming majority, 137 votes in favour and 33 against.
    • 13 representatives have abstained from voting.
    • The ÖVP has decisively voted yes, one representative of the Green Party, Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic, has abstained from the vote.
    • Two representatives of the SPÖ from Lower Austria have also abstained from voting after expressing their disapproval, and only Josef Muchitsch voted against it.
    • There were more dissents among the NEOS representatives, namely Stephanie Krisper, the pandemic spokesman Gerald Loacker, spokeswoman for health Fiona Fiedler and judiciary spokesman Johannes Margreiter.
    • The members of the FPÖ have unanimously voted against the vaccination mandate.
    • For the law to come into force it has to first be approved by the Federal Council (Bundesrat).
    • The ruling parties have the majority in the council and the voting will take place on February 3.
    • The vaccination mandate applies to all residents of Austria over 18 years of age, with some exceptions.
Bogdan Brkić
Bogdan Brkić
Originally from southern Serbia, he moved to Vienna in 2013 to study German Philology. He is an aspiring journalist whose passions include history, music and French pastries.

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Current Status

If you live in Vienna, make sure to register for getting a vaccine against COVID-19 under impfservice.wien.  Here you can book your vaccination appointment.

The City of Vienna offers free vaccinations without an appointment to everyone – regardless of citizenship or insurance status – at multiple locations across the city. 

Vienna has reinstated a number of coronavirus restrictions for the fall. The Austrian government has presented a plan for schools and universities.  

Here’s an overview of where you can get tested for COVID-19 in Vienna and how the free PCR “gargle” tests at home work. 

If everything is a bit much for you or you experience domestic violence of any kind, here is our mental health resource article.

Numbers

For current coronavirus numbers, check the website of Ministry of Health and the AGES dashboard.

The Austrian Ministry of Health also publishes daily vaccination statistics and a preview of scheduled deliveries.

Resources

The City of Vienna has compiled comprehensive information on questions and answers regarding coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease in English.

The Austrian Ministry of Health has put together FAQs on the coronavirus and also provides material to download on how to protect yourself and others from the disease, also in English.

Furthermore, the ministry will constantly update its German-language website with information on the number of people tested and cases of COVID-19 in Austria.

Hotlines

Health advice by telephone1450

If you show symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties) or fear that you are ill, stay at home and dial health number 1450 for further procedures (diagnostic clarification).

Coronavirus hotline AGES+43 0800 555 621

The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) answers questions about the coronavirus (general information on transmission, symptoms, prevention) 24 hours a day at +43 0800 555 621.

VKI hotline for travel law questions+43 0800 201 211

For legal questions concerning trips that have already been booked (e.g. whether a trip can be cancelled free of charge), the experts of the Association for Consumer Information (VKI) provide advice free of charge from Monday to Sunday between 09:00 and 15:00 at +43 0800 201 211.