The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in April

Austria has successfully flattened the curved. Here’s all you need to know about what happened in April 2020 in Vienna and beyond.

Two weeks after the first cases of coronavirus were diagnosed in Austria, the situation in Europe has gone from worrisome to grave. Italy has been on lockdown since March 9, 2020, spurring other governments, businesses, organizations and individuals into action – also in Austria. 

For a wrap-up of current measures and developments, check out our current Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna article, with daily updates.

Here is a wrap-up of the measures and developments as they happened in April 2020 in Austria.

April 30, 2020:

April 29, 2020:

  • Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) and Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) have outlined their plans for a stimulus package following the corona crisis. The stimulus will have three pillars:
    • Lower taxes for employees, to boost particularly the income of those workers that proved to be of “systemic relevance” during the crisis.
    • Less regulations and taxes for businesses, so they can preserve and create new jobs.
    • Last but not least, an investments offensive should serve to fight climate change, boost digitalization and regionalization .
  • Over the next ten days, the government will consult businesses, worker associations, economists as well as representatives of cities and regions to finalize the package.
    • Businesses will be encouraged and incentivized to permit telework also going forward.
    • Regional strategies should reduce dependencies on long and sometimes unreliable supply chains, especially in key sectors (such as personal protective equipment).
    • Stimulus measures like lower payroll taxes and lower social security contributions – originally planned for 2021/22 – will now already take effect this year, details still to follow.
  • Austrian Airlines applied for state aid amounting to €676 million. The Austrian government announced that they will demand the airline to become greener in its operations as a condition for the aid money.

April 28, 2020:

  • This Thursday, on April 30, at midnight (24:00), the restrictions on movements within Austria (Verkehrsbeschränkungen) will expire. Additional measures like keeping 1-meter distance from others in public, wearing masks in shops and when traveling in public transport and a heightened attention to hygiene will still be in force.
  • Restaurants and bars can reopen on May 15, from 06:00 in the morning to 23:00 in the evening. Masks or a protection for mouth and nose will be mandatory for staff. There can be no more than four people (plus children) on one table at any one time. Guest are asked to reserve beforehand where possible.
  • Hotels, tourist attractions and swimming pools can reopen on May 29, more details on guidelines to follow.
  • Playgrounds in Vienna will next week be officially reopened by the city administration.
  • Vienna’s public baths will reopen on May 29. New rules will ensure adequate distance, hygiene and prevent overcrowding.

April 27, 2020:

  • Following an inquiry of the Austrian Press Agency (APA), the Health Ministry clarified that private visits and family gatherings are “of course” permitted. Until recently, an FAQ question pertaining to this topic on the ministry’s website only showed an answer pointing out that movement restrictions are valid until the end of April.
  • On April 24, a record 1.1 million employees in Austria were registered for short-time work (Kurzarbeit). If fully utilized, this corresponds to public wage subsidies of €6.7 billion over the coming weeks and months.

April 26, 2020:

  • A special law gives employers in Austria the permission to mandate employees to take up to two weeks’ holiday (before, this was only possible by mutual agreement). The law is limited for this year only.

April 25, 2020:

  • Schools will open earlier in the morning to take care of children, more disinfectants will be provided and the final grades will be determined a week later than usual.

April 24, 2020:

  • Today, Minister of Education Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP) presented the government’s plan for reopening schools in 14-day steps. Here are the main points:
    • May 4
      – Pupils before their school leaving exams in higher schools (Maturanten), or vocational schools (Berufsschulen) return to school.
      – This applies to approximately 100,000 students in Austria.
    • May 18*
      – Elementary schools (Volksschulen), lower grades in high schools (Unterstufen in Gymnasien), intermediate schools (Neue Mittelschule, NMS), and special needs schools reopen – special conditions apply (see below).
      – This affects 700,000 students in all of Austria.
    • June 3*
      – All other students can return to school, concretely those in the higher grades of high schools (Oberstufe in Gymnasien), other pupils of vocational schools, technical high schools (HTLs) and others.
      – This applies to 300,000 students in Austria.
  • Students who return on May 18 and June 3 (marked by *) will learn in shifts – half the pupils of every class will be at schools on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the other half on Thursday and Friday. The halves will switch every week.
    • There will be no afternoon teaching, no sports and music classes (due to infection risk) and heightened attention to hygiene and the new distance rules. A protection for mouth and nose is required when coming to school (parents should provide their children with these masks); younger children can take it off in class.
    • There will be no big tests and exams (Schularbeiten) and teachers are called on to grade mostly according to past achievements in the two thirds of the school year that already passed until March 16.
    • Teachers or children in risk groups or who feel sick are permitted to stay at home.
    • All measures are conditional on further falling numbers of infections and can be rolled back if the health situation changes.
  • The Hungarian budget airline Wizz Air announced today that they plan to resume flying from Vienna on May 1, starting with 20 destinations in and close to Europe. There will be fewer weekly flights at the beginning. Wizz Air plans to fly to cities such as Milan, Tel Aviv or Valencia from Vienna.
  • Vienna’s cinemas are working on new concepts to reopen in the new coronavirus normality. Most of them plan to reopen no sooner than September/October, but some – such as Haydn – already presented a plan to reduce attendance by up to 50% and ensure safety distances.
  • Austrian Airlines (AUA) announced its plan to come out of the crisis: Currently, the AUA employs 7,000 people, flies with 80 planes and ferried 14.7 million travelers, generating 2.2 billion of revenues. This is set to be cut by 25% across the board over the following years. The AUA currently plans to resume flying on May 17.
  • Kindergartens across Austria open up further. Children of parents in critical industries can already now come to the kindergarten. In May, only children will be permitted too. In general, kindergartens are called on to be flexible in dealing with parents and kids.

April 23, 2020:

  • Starting on May 15, Vienna’s administrative offices (Magistrate) will again resume regular work and be available during regular opening times. Protection for mouth and nose (e.g. masks) and 1 meter distance will be mandatory.
  • Starting on May 2, special express trains will transport 24-hour care workers from Romania directly to Austria. Of 66,000 24-hour caregivers in Austria, more than half hail from Romania, many of which could not travel back home for weeks now due to corona. Starting in May up to 1,000 caregivers will be able to travel every week in each direction.
  • Austria’s economy is projected to contract by -5.25% this year, resulting in an unemployment rate of 8.7% (according to national statistics), the highest in the post-war era. The budget deficit is forecast to rise to -7.4%, raising the country’s debt to GDP ratio to 80.2%. A recovery in 2021 should bring some relief, but a return to pre-crisis levels is not expected before 2022.

April 22, 2020:

  • The government keeps specifying its plans for a further easing of coronavirus measures, some updates are:
    • On May 2, massage parlors & beauty salons for manicure and pedicure can reopen, under strict safety and hygiene conditions.
    • Some 90,000 employees in Austria were classified by the government as being in a higher risk group for the coronavirus; in the coming days, they will get a letter, establishing their right to telework or paid leave even after measures were lifted.
    • The quarantine of several Tyrolean villages, e.g. in the Paznauntal or on the Arlberg, will be lifted this Thursday, April 23.
    • More details on schools, restaurants and the potential easing of restrictions of movement will be announced at the end of this week.
  • Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) said “The numbers we’ve seen in the last couple of days were downright fantastic and we are confident that we can keep it up.” Minister of Heath Rudolf Anschober (Greens) cautioned, however, by saying that all easing of measures stands “under the provision that we will continue to see a positive development.”

“The numbers we’ve seen in the last couple of days were downright Fantastic and we are confident that we can keep it up.”

Werner Kogler, Vice-Chancellor of Austria (Greens)

  • Austria has sent several aid shipments to Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Moldova as part of EU-wide emergency relief efforts.

April 21, 2020:

  • Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) gave today an update on the plan for the coming weeks:
    • May 1
      – all shops and stores can reopen, including hair & beauty salons
      – curfew restrictions will be eased and adjusted
    • May 4
      – preparations for the school leaving exams (Matura) start, older pupils return to high schools
    • May 15
      – schools will start to reopen (details will be announced on Friday)
      – restaurants, bars and other businesses in the hospitality industry can reopen (until 23:00 in the night), for staff it’s mandatory to wear mask
      – religious services will again be permitted
    • Moreover, travel to other countries should be allowed again step by step.

Eilmeldung: Die Regierung hat soeben den weiteren Plan für die Lockerung der Corona-Maßnahmen präsentiert. Alle Schritte…

Gepostet von Zeit im Bild am Dienstag, 21. April 2020

  • Everybody entering Austria from abroad is obliged to self-quarantine for 14 days at home. This quarantine can be cut short with a medical certificate, not older than 4 days or issued during the quarantine, confirming a negative coronavirus test and status.
  • The Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) in Vienna and Lower Austria started to offer coronavirus tests to 24-hour care workers from abroad. Austria’s care system for the elderly crucially depends on workers from abroad, many of which from Romania and Croatia, who would need to enter a 14-days quarantine without a negative test result.

April 20, 2020:

  • In Styria, the first Austrian COVID-19 patient was cured with blood plasma from a donor who had previously recovered from the disease.
  • Only 1% of of newly tested suspected cases in Austria have tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, the total number of active cases has fallen under 4,000. Minister of Health Rudolf Anschober (Greens) called it a “waypoint of the first stage of a marathon against the coronavirus.”
  • A new helpline for men should counter domestic violence and help men to de-escalate situations at home or just talk through stressful situations. The “Männerinfo” can be reached under the number: +0720/704-400.
  • Companies registered almost 900,000 employees for Kurzarbeit (short-time work) while the number of unemployed hit a record. Short-time workers in Austria get between 80-90% of their previous salary from the state, a high value in international comparison.
  • Mortality in Austria has been 13% higher in the first week of April 2020 compared to the same period one year before, as recorded by Statistik Austria. Mortality for those over 65 years old rose by 15%, those of people younger than that “only” by 3%.

April 19, 2020:

April 18, 2020:

  • Austria started last Tuesday with the first steps into what chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) calls “the new normality.” The plan, as of now, looks as follows:
  • The number of active coronavirus cases in Austria has been dropping fast. In Vienna, there are now three times more recovered patients (10,214) than active cases (4,423). Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) called a decline of this speed and magnitude “unique in Europe.”
  • Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) announced that the government plans to cut taxes next year for those with incomes in the lower income brackets. The move should be a support both for those hardest hit by the crisis and the for the economy at large. Austria’s budget deficit this year is currently projected to hit €25.6 billion (-6.6%).
  • Austria’s system for 24-hour care for the elderly is under massive stress. “This system is in danger of collapsing in the next two weeks, as the border crossing to Austria can no longer take place legally due to corona-related travel restrictions,” said Christian Fazekas, President of the Austrian Society for Psychosomatic and Psychotherapeutic Medicine (ÖGPPM). Most 24-hour nurses in Austria come from Central and Eastern Europe, mainly Romania.

April 17, 2020:

  • Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) and Culture State Secretary Ulrike Lunacek (Greens) announced today the plan for cultural events in the coming months:
    • No large-scale events or festivals will take place until August 31.
    • Museums, libraries and other “places of presentation in the artistic & cultural fields” will be allowed to reopen in mid-May, with a concrete date still to be announced. The federal museums (like Vienna’s KHM & NHM) will remain closed until the end of June.
    • Smaller cultural events will again be permitted starting in July, however, only under under restrictions.
    • Whether the Bregenz Festival and the Salzburg Festival can take place – the latter scheduled to celebrate its 100th anniversary exactly this year – is still being evaluated, with many options floated.
    • A special fund for artists and creatives in the cultural sector is currently being set up.  
  • Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) announced that hospitals and doctor’s offices will cautiously begin the process of returning to normal procedures. How fast this happens will be determined region by region
    • Anschober also announced the government’s intention to test all people in elderly care homes across the country for the coronavirus. A total of 130,000 people currently live or work in these facilities in Austria.

April 16, 2020:

  • Finance Minister Margarete Schramböck (ÖVP) announced that the federal government has created an aid package  for startups. The package consists of two funds, a COVID-19 Hilfsfonds (€100 million) and a Venture-Capital-Fonds (€50 million). 
  • Sport Minister Werner Kogler (Greens) announced that certain sporting venues will be allowed to open starting May 1. Examples of sport types allowed to reopen include tennis, golf, horseback-riding and shooting. Professional athletes are already allowed to return to the pitch on April 20.

April 15, 2020:

  • Vienna’s next municipal elections will in all likelihood take place on October 11, 2020. This was announced today by Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ), who commented the date with “the last feasible date is the suitable one” by pointing to the new situation with the coronavirus.
  • The City of Vienna continues to gradually lift some of the strictest coronavirus regulations.
    • As of today, trips with public transport are again permitted for leisure and other purposes, not only for essential trips – provided passengers wear a mouth and nose protection (e.g. mask or scarf) and keep distance.
    • The city’s short-term parking zones, suspended in times of the crisis, will again be valid starting on April 27.
    • The city has also promised to provide 5,000 laptops to young pupils who currently have to follow classes from home but might not have suitable devices.
  • In a volatile environment, Austrian GDP is forecast to shrink by 9% this year before surging 8% next year. However, in this scenario, the economy would only reach the pre-coronavirus level in mid-2022.
  • The number of people who recovered from the coronavirus in Austria (currently 8,098) is now more than 40% higher than the number of currently infected or ill people, according to testing (currently 5,755).
Corona_April 15, 2020
  • A second study to gauge the estimated number of unknown coronavirus causes in Austria starts tomorrow. This time conducted by Statistik Austria, the Austrian Red Cross and the Medical University of Vienna, the random sample will be bigger (2,800 people). Results are expected by the end of April.

April 14, 2020:

  • Today, shops under 400 square meters, DIY stores and garden center open their doors again, including small built-in bakeries and eateries.
  • Some store owners are – understandably – excited about this prospect, as a viral video of bakery chain owner Doris Felber showed, to the well-meaning amusement of netizens.
  • Masks or alternative protections for the mouth and face (scarfs etc.) are as of today mandatory in shops and public transport, additional to supermarkets.
  • More than 600,000 people in Austria have so far applied for Kurzarbeit (short-time work), the government increased the fund for the measures from €3 billion to €5 billion.
  • Passenger volume at Vienna Airport fell by two thirds (65.8%) in March, 2020.
  • Austria’s federal gardens (Bundesgärten) – in Vienna, that’s Schönbrunn gardens, Belvedere gardens, the Burggarten, the Volksgarten and others – will reopen today. Controls at the entrances will ensure a limited numbers of guests at any one time.

April 13, 2020:

  • The basic reproduction number of the coronavirus (R) in Austria has for the first time fallen under 1, to a value of R=0.86%. That means that the number of newly infected people is falling faster than people recover from the virus.
  • Some of Vienna’s Mistplätze (collecting points for bulky refuse) will open again as of tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14. The responsible MA 48 asks the Viennese to understand that the service will only restart slowly and that there will be new restrictions in place (only two people per car, only ten people in the area in total).

April 12, 2020:

  • As the government and public authorities urged the population to celebrate Easter at home, cellphone data and the number of police operations showed that the overwhelming majority of people followed these instructions on the Easter weekend.

April 11, 2020:

  • The daily number of people cured from the coronavirus in Austria has outstripped those of newly positively tested cases for several days now – that means the total number of infected people, as reflected by official testing, is in decline.
    • Of a total of 13,561 positively tested cases of coronavirus in Austria:
      • 6,620 people (48.82% of the total) are currently infected
      • 6,604 people (48.70%) have already recovered
      • 337 people (2.49%) passed away with or due to the disease
      • Out of active cases, 1,036 people are currently hospitalized, 246 of which are in intensive care
      • Find more details in the numbers section at the bottom of this article
  • The federal government announced that they will guarantee 80-100% of emergency loans for businesses for a period of up to five years.
  • Austria’s Federal Railways (ÖBB) have put 10,000 employees on Kurzarbeit (short-time work). Train passenger volumes in Austria haven fallen by 80-90%, but are projected to rise again slightly in the coming weeks. An information campaign is suppose to remind people to wear masks in public transport, such as trains.

April 10, 2020:

  • The results of the random sample testing of Austrian households by the Sora Institute are in: They suggest that between 10,200 and 67,400 people in Austrians are infected by the coronavirus, the most likely number is 28,500.
    • This corresponds 0.32% positive cases among the sample of 1,544 tested cases.
    • Within a statistical 95% confidence interval, that result suggests that between 0.12 and 0.76 percent of Austrians are currently infected.
    • The number of officially positively tested cases in the country today stands at 13,200, meaning that Austria has probably done a comparatively good job of tracking existing cases.
  • Lakes and beach resorts will reopen after Easter, starting on April 14, 2020.
  • The finance ministers of the European Union have agreed on a first European coronavirus response package, amounting to €500 billion in a first step. A new fund for reconstruction after the crisis is planned in a next step.

April 9, 2020:

  • Minister for Families Christine Aschbacher (ÖVP) and Minister of Education Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP) announced a special fund for families that are hit hardest by the corona crisis. Among other things, the fund will disburse extra payments and provide over 12,000 electronic devices to make “distance learning” easier for pupils.
  • A third of the 1,058 intensive care units (ICUs) in Vienna’s hospitals is available, as of now. Austrian hospitals have also accepted intensive care patients from France in recent days.
  • Austrian tech & startup media house Trending Topics has set up a tracking board for the coronavirus in Austria (in German) which shows that an increasing number of people who had been infected with the coronavirus are now cured (“genesen”). In fact, for several days, more people have been cured than newly infected every day in Austria. The dashboard also shows info on the number of tests, the spread of the virus in the regions and much more.
The tracking board created by Trending Topics shows current information on the coronavirus in Austria in an easily understandable form.

April 8, 2020:

  • Minister of Education Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP) presented today the plans for education sector in the next couple of weeks and months.
    • Teaching for students in the final year of high school will resume on May 5 in small groups, the final school-leaving exams (Matura) will take place on May 25 and only in written form.
    • As of now, it is still unclear when schools will resume teaching in general, with some speculating about a gradual start on May 18. Both schools and kindergartens are available for those children whose parents can’t look after them during the day in the coming weeks.
    • Universities will shift most teaching online for the remainder of the summer semester. Important exams will take place under certain restrictions, university libraries will open but only for borrowing books (not for staying and studying there).
  • Minister of Agriculture and Tourism Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) announced today the roadmap for the Austrian tourism industry and travel in general.
    • Tourism and travel is one of most affected industries in the corona crisis – Austria’s hospitality industry went from 20 million overnight stays in February to essentially zero now.
    • Both Köstinger and Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) underlined that certain restrictions on the freedom of movement and travel are likely to stay in some form or another, as long as no vaccine is found against the virus.
    • That having said, the plan is to develop new guidelines and codes of behavior for hotels, restaurants, bars and means of public transport until the end of April, with a gradual resumption of service in mid-May as the goal if the situation remains under control until then.
    • Schallenberg also announced that 7,100 Austrians or residents in Austria have been repatriated with 37 flights and from 27 countries in the last couple of weeks; another 3,500 are still abroad, 1,000 of which want to return home.
  • Minister of Health Rudolf Anschober (Greens) announced that functioning antibody tests are expected to be available by the end of April. They will be rolled out first in hotspot regions like Ischgl, Tyrol, to test what percentage of the population already had COVID-19.

April 7, 2020:

  • Minister of Health Rudi Anschober (Greens) announced that in the last couple of weeks, Austria has recorded the steepest fall in numbers and rates of new coronavirus infections of all European countries – a function both of high rates at the beginning and, apparently, effective measures thereafter. International observers confirm this trajectory.
  • The Washington Post listed Austria and Denmark as the two first European countries that have presented a preliminary plan to ease the coronavirus lockdown. Austrian politicians and experts meanwhile continue to stress that every easing can only happen in the context of a “new normality” (mouth-and-nose protection, 1-meter distance rule, reduced social contacts) and that an emergency break can be applied at any time if infections start to rise again.
  • The Viennese biotech firm Apeiron Biologics has developed a new drug substance (APN01) that could potentially help to treat Covid-19 patients. The drug’s effectiveness will now be tested by administering it to 200 patients with severe symptoms in Austria, Germany and Denmark.
  • Due to the government’s decision to outlaw bigger events until June, the Wiener Festwochen were canceled. The festival would have taken place from May 15 to June 21.

April 6, 2020:

  • On Monday, April 6, the government announced that the current measures have been prolonged until the end of April and unveiled the plan for the coming months
    • Starting April 14, small stores (<400 square meters of size) and DIY and garden centers may reopen under certain restrictions (with only a small number of customers at any one time).
    • A protection for face and mouth (masks or scarfs) will also become mandatory on public transport.
    • Starting May 1, stores, shopping malls and hairdressers may reopen.
    • Starting mid-May, restaurants, cafes and hotels may reopen.
    • All public events will remain cancelled until the end of June.
    • No school until mid-May and universities will remain closed for the rest of the semester.
    • If infection number start to rise again, measures can also be toughened once again (Kurz called it a “Notbremse” or emergency break).
    • Austria’s Bundesgärten (federal gardens) will open on April 14, with controls at entrances to prevent overcrowding.
    • People are urgently requested not to travel for celebrating Easter with their families in different households, to keep the infection rate down.
    • Further measures will be evaluated at the end of April.
  • The Brothers of Mercy Hospital in Brno, in cooperation with the Czech company Emglare Technologies, developed an application called COVID-19! (currently available in the App store for iPhone and iPad) which shows global and local trends of the coronavirus in very high detail and easily understandable. The app is available in several languages, also in Austria.
The app is also available in English, depending on your device’s settings.
  • New coronavirus cases in Austria have been on a downward trend in recent days, both in relative numbers (percentage of newly infected to already infected people) and in absolute numbers (newly infected and positively tested people).
  • The resources for the short-hours working fund (“Kurzarbeit”) was trebled by the government, from €1 billion to €3 billion.
  • As of today, wearing a protection for mouse and nose (“Mund- und Nasenschutz”) – ideally masks, in exceptional cases also scarfs or other similar means – in supermarkets with a size bigger than 400 square meters is mandatory in Austria.

April 5, 2020:

  • The City of Vienna has set up a new investment fund of €50 million called “Stolz auf Wien” (“Proud of Vienna”) for Viennese businesses. The city is ready to to provide investment of up 20% of a company’s equity, if the business is deemed essential for the city’s life, with a time-horizon of seven years. The fund will launch mid-May.

April 4, 2020:

  • The government issued a new regulation that prohibits gatherings in private houses with more than 5 people living in a different household. The decree is supposed to restrict Easter celebrations to “the closest family circle.” The opposition criticized the move harshly, as it also involves further powers for the police to control private houses and flats.
  • Economy Minister Margarete Schramböck (ÖVP) announced that Austria’s businesses will soon produce 100,000 face masks per day. The target is to further increase domestic production to 500,000 masks a day over the coming weeks.
  • In a short interview with Austrian daily Der Standard, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) has shared first details of a plan to gradually lift restrictions on daily life in Austria. A team of hundred experts are currently working on a strategy, which, says the chancellor, will be built on “a tracking app, testing and the isolation of infected individuals.”

April 3, 2020:

  • Yesterday, Austria’s parliament passed a third coronavirus-related legislative package – for health and distance reasons, only half of MPs were present and everybody was wearing face masks – with a slew of new measures:
    • The budget for short-time working schemes was upped to €1 billion (from €400 million).
    • Renters cannot be evicted for not paying their rent over the next three months.
    • The general accident insurance is now also valid when teleworking.
    • The special support fund for the self-employed enters the second phase, its budget was upped to €2 billion (from €1 billion).
    • And Education Minister Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP) was given the authority to adapt the curriculum and teaching directives for Austria’s schools and universities.
  • Cities and municipalities can now close roads and open them to the public, if they elect to do so. Austria’s Minister of the Environment Eleonore Gewessler (Greens) announced this measure as a way to give people more space in public, so that keeping the 1-meter distance rule gets easier.
  • Picking up food and drinks from restaurants (take-away) is now again allowed, declared Austria’s Chamber of Commerce. Food establishments have been urging a solution that allows them to recoup at least some of their business during closure.

April 2, 2020:

  • Renters who cannot afford to pay rent in the months of April, May or June 2020 due to the corona crisis cannot be evicted from their flat, the government announced. They will have time to pay the arrears by December 31, 2020. “Housing is a fundamental right. This applies all the more in times of crisis. We will not allow anyone to end up on the streets,” vowed Minister of Justice Alma Zadić.
  • Austrian scientist Florian Krammer, a researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, US, described an antibody test to detect a past infection and thus immunity to SARS-CoV-2. The knowledge is now being transferred to Austria. Viennese scientists at the BOKU will now start to set up an antibody test program, which, in the first instance, will benefit health care workers.
  • Yesterday, the distribution of first face masks in front of supermarkets has started. Starting from April 6, wearing face masks while grocery shopping will be mandatory. We provide a guide why masks matter and how to wear them. Self-made cloth masks are an alternative, with ever-more Austrians offering to sew them (the proceeds of the masks below, for example, will support the Carinthian social street-newspaper project kaz).

April 1, 2020:

  • The number of unemployed in Austria shot up by 50% in March. Today, 562,522 people in Austria are not in training or employment (+193,543 compared to February 2020).
    • The Austrian unemployment rate according to stricter national definitions increased from 7.5% before to 12.2% now, a historical high in the country’s postwar history.
    • Eurostat, which provides internationally comparable numbers has not issue new data for March yet. In February 2020, Austria’s unemployment rate according to Eurostat was 4.4%.
    • The western federal states saw the biggest increases in the number of unemployed, as tourism and the hospitality industry were hit hardest by the crisis
  • The government announced that it is working on a legally mandated moratorium on loan payments for private individuals and small business (up to 10 employees, less than €2 million revenue annually). Details are still to be thrashed out.

For length, clarity and loading times, we have decided to split off the timeline of what happened in March into a separate articles: “The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in March.”

Numbers

As of today, May 3, 2020, the situation in Austria according to the Ministry of Health is as follows:

People tested: 274,355
– of which in Vienna: 60,943
Daily tests: 4,736

Confirmed cases: 15,517 (+25 cases (+0.2%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 2,529
Active cases: 1,771 (-11 cases (-0.6%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 544

Increase on previous day: +0.47%
– four-day average: +0.36%

Total hospitalized: 422 (-6 cases (-1.4%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 124
In intensive care: 114 (+/-0 cases (+/-0%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 22

Recovered: 13,228 (+28 cases (+0.4%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 1,827
Deceased: 598 (+2 cases (+0.2%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 135

The Ministry of Health has also developed a COVID-19 dashboard (see partial screenshot above) with details on the coronavirus outbreak in Austria, listing for example affected regions, age groups, gender and status of the cases.

Austrian tech & startup media house Trending Topics has also set up a comprehensive tracking board for the coronavirus in Austria (in German).

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 telephone: 1450

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.

How to wash your hands, properly

The World Health Organization (WHO) as well as national and international health organizations stress how crucial proper hand-hygiene is to slow the spread of the disease.

Make sure that you and everybody around you clean their hands regularly, properly (20 seconds or more) and with soap – soap actually kills the virus.

Reduce physical contact (instead of handshake do an elbow bunch or Vulcan greeting, for instance) where possible.

We will keep updating this page as new developments unfold. Keep safe, keep informed and live long and prosper 🖖!

Benjamin Wolf
Benjamin studied Journalism, History and International Affairs. After stints with Cafébabel in Paris and Arte in Strasbourg, he is now working as managing editor and COO for Metropole in Vienna. Fields of expertise are politics, economics, culture, and history.Photo: Visual Hub

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Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

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