with additional reporting by Amina Frassl
After the Austrian government took increasingly drastic measures in March to contain the coronavirus, the country successfully flattened the curve in April, and gradually reopened shops, schools and restaurants again in May.
Life in Vienna got back to something like normality with summer arriving in June, while newly rising numbers in July have prompted regional lockdowns, quarantine, travel warnings and targeted measures. In August, the CoV-Ampel was introduced, and measures were gradually tightened.
In September, with cases rising again at a swift pace, stricter measures have been introduced and people were asked to limit private gatherings to 10 people at max.
With numbers rising rapidly, October brings new challenges in dealing with the pandemic.
Here is a wrap-up of the measures currently in place in Austria, as they were announced, and information about the situation in general.
October 27, 2020
- Today, the number of people who have died from or with COVID-19 in Austria has reached 1,005.
- Per capita, 114 people per a million inhabitants have died in Austria with the virus since the pandemic began.
- That is less than a third than the comparable number in the EU (370 deaths per million inhabitants) and less than a sixth than per capita deaths due to COVID-19 in the United States (680 deaths per million people).
- However, it is significantly higher than in many East Asian countries, such as Japan (13 deaths per million inhabitants) or South Korea (9 deaths per million people).
- The head of the Economics Research Institute (WIFO), Christoph Badelt said that a collapse of Austria’s winter tourism is highly likely. The high number of cases in Austria and in other European countries could deter many from traveling.
- A bad winter season could be detrimental to Austria’s economy, causing it to contract by another -1.5% percent on top of the recession already taking place.
- Salzburg’s contact tracing team is in panic mode. One employee tested positive out of the 40 person team has been infected and now 20 others must self-isolate.
- There has been an outbreak in a nursing home in Pinkafeld (district Oberwart) in Burgenland. 54 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 2 have died.
- The number of unemployed increased by almost 3,000 since last week. In total, 416,175 are currently registered as unemployed in Austria.
- After four of its employees tested positive for the virus, the elite restaurant Fabios in the 1st district will keep its doors shut for the next 10 days.
- This morning, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said that a second lockdown would only occur if the health system is on the brink of collapse. This would be when 60-70% of the hospital beds in the intensive care units are occupied.
- According to Anschober’s criteria, we are currently far away from a second lockdown. However, this could change soon, as the number of cases in Austria are increasing at an exponential rate.
- Anschober also rejected the government’s interference in people’s private lives. He urged everyone to assume personal responsibility in the next three to four weeks.
- Austria’s tourism industry experienced a -14% reduction in overnight stays in September. In Vienna, the number of overnight stays decreased by -75%.
- The UN headquarters in New York City, US, announced today that all in-person meetings would be canceled, effect immediately.
- The policy at UN headquarters Vienna seems to be different at this moment; despite several infections, in-person meetings continue.
- According to data gleaned from Austrian Social Ministry’s website, 2,835 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in the last 24 hours as of 09:30 today.
- While relatively stable compared to the numbers of recent days, data after holidays is often spotty.
- The number still represents a +75% increase compared to last Tuesday.
- There are currently more than 32,000 active cases across the country according to the AGES dashboard.
- The number of deaths from COVID-19 have surpassed 1,000. In total, 1005 people have died from the virus in Austria.
- Slovakia wants to test its entire population for the coronavirus in the next two weekends.
- Germany recorded 11,409 new corona cases within the last 24 hours. Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet with state leaders tomorrow to decide on drastic measures. A “mini lockdown” is being considered.
- Italy reported a negative record of 22,000 new infections within the last 24 hours. Strict restrictions to the public life, including the closure of cinemas, theaters, casinos, clubs, public sporting locations, and pools, have been in effect since yesterday. Restaurants and bars must shut at 6 p.m.
- Belgium is currently the European country hardest-hit by the pandemic. Yesterday the state introduced a mask requirement in public spaces and a nightly curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
October 26, 2020
- Austria celebrates today its National Day (Nationalfeiertag). This year, celebrations will take place mostly online.
- However, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony and the traditional swearing-in of new recruits by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen will take place on Heldenplatz.
- This year, people also cannot visit the Hofburg (the president’s seat) as usual – that’s why President Van der Bellen showed visitors today his offices with a drone (see below).
- “We are experiencing massive, exponential growth,” said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) about the current coronavirus situation in Austria. ”This is an extreme challenge. The situation is very, very serious, even for those who still don’t want to believe it.”
- Kurz said that a second lockdown would be a measure of “last resort” but could not ruled out, looking at current numbers.
- As of today, new and stricter measures are in place all across Austria.
- For more details, check out our article “New COVID-19 Measures – What Will Change.”
- According to the data from the Austrian Social Ministry, 2,400 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Austria in the last 24 hours as of 08:00 today.
- The AGES reports around 30,000 active cases across the country at the moment.
- Today between 12:00 and 14:00, a demonstration against coronavirus containment measures will take place in Vienna.
- The organizers issued an appeal saying “Let us burn the senseless masks and regain human dignity!”
October 25, 2020
- Austrian ministries reported today 2,782 new coronavirus infections in the country. That brings the number of active cases in the country to 28,100 according to the AGES dashboard.
- Here’s how these daily new cases are spread across Austria’s federal states:
- Burgenland: 47
- Carinthia: 46
- Lower Austria: 416
- Upper Austria: 612
- Salzburg: 269
- Styria: 325
- Tyrol: 313
- Vorarlberg: 68
- Vienna: 686
- Here’s how these daily new cases are spread across Austria’s federal states:
- 1,225 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Austrian hospitals, 174 of which are getting intensive care. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 979 people in Austria died from or with the virus.
- Individual hospitals in Vienna, Lower Austria and Tyrol have meanwhile already reached capacity. However, there are still many other hospitals in the country with lots of spare capacity at this point.
- The virologist Elisabeth Puchhammer-Stöckl from the Medical University of Vienna has warned that the country is losing control of the chains of infection.
- Detailed analyses in Vienna have shown that “infections are already being acquired in an unclear manner in public space (…),” was Puchhammer-Stöckl quoted.
- To the Austrian daily Kleine Zeitung, Puchhammer-Stöckl said “more and more people do not know where they infected themselves.”
- The practice of contact tracing – long seen as the ideal way to break infection chains early – is under strain under the massive count of new cases in recent weeks.
- In Tyrol, contact tracing will not trace all new infections anymore but just focus on those were a chain of infections can be quickly identified.
- In Carinthia, the regional government is now looking to hire students to help with contact tracing.
- Meanwhile, Vorarlberg has accepted an offer of the Austrian Society for Health and Nutrition Safety (AGES) to provide 30 additional employees to help with contact tracing.
For length, clarity and loading times, we decided to split off the timeline of what happened in recent months into several separate articles:
– The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in March
– The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in April
– The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in May
– The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in June
– The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in July
– The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in August
– The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in September
– The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in October
As of today, October 27, 2020, the situation in Austria according to the Ministry of Health and the AGES dashboard is as follows:
People tested: 2,125,687
– of which in Vienna: 602,207
Daily tests: 14,112
Confirmed cases: 88,091
– of which in Vienna: 28,434
Active cases: 33,896
– of which in Vienna: 7,806
Total hospitalized: 1,400 (+70 cases (+5.3%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 358
– still available hospital beds: 10,110
In intensive care: 203 (+15 cases (+8%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 75
– still available intensive care units: 651
Recovered: 60,308 (+1,272 cases (+2.2%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 20,628
Deceased: 1,005 (+13 case (+1.3%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 319
The Ministry of Health has also developed a COVID-19 dashboard with details on the coronavirus outbreak in Austria, listing for example affected regions, age groups, gender and status of the cases.
The privately organized coronatracker also provides up-to-date information on the virus in Austria (in German).
The City of Vienna has compiled comprehensive information on questions and answers regarding coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease 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.
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 🖖!