CoV on Dec. 28 – Jan. 3 | 6,000 People in Austria Vaccinated

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

Find here the daily coronavirus updates for Austria, with everything you need to know about COVID-19.

We compiled for you an overview of the rules in force over the holidays and Christmas and a detailed guide on traveling to Austria during that period.

Austria’s government announced another hard lockdown that will start on December 26 and go through January 17 at least, here are the rules of the third lockdown in detail.

Here’s an overview where you can get tested for COVID-19 in Vienna. If everything is a bit much for you or you experience domestic violence of any kind, here is our mental health resource article.

Here is a wrap-up of the measures currently in place in Austria.

December 28 – January 4, 2020

January 3

Active casesHospitalizedIn intensive care (ICU)Deaths
Total18,3932,2273636,324
Daily change-453+3-9+49
In percent-2.4%+0.1%-2.4%+0.8%
Daily TestsRecoveredTested Positive
Total12,042338,831363,548
Daily change-8,420+1,909+1,505
In percent-17%+0.6%+0.4%

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, January 3, 2020.

  • After the city of Vienna announced that they would start vaccinating earlier than originally planned (on Jan. 6), Salzburg has now decided to do the same. The state will begin inoculating individuals in nursing homes tomorrow.
    • According to the state’s Health Representative Christian Stöckl, Salzburg currently has 3,900 vaccine doses ready for use.
(C) Our World in Data

January 2

  • Austrian ministries reported 1,391 new infections in the past 24 hours.
    • The seven-day incidence is 160 per 100,000 residents.

Cases Overview

Active casesHospitalizedIn intensive care (ICU)Deaths
Total18,8462,2243726,275
Daily change-491-19-13+14
In percent-2.5%-0.8%-3.4%+0.2%
Daily TestsRecoveredTested Positive
Total20,462336,922362,043
Daily change-4,187+2,021+1,544
In percent-17%+0.6%+0.4%

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, January 2, 2020.

  • Salzburg is currently host to the largest number of cases in the country – about double that of the other federal states. Its seven-day incidence is 326 per 100,000 residents. But health authorities don’t know why that is.
  • While Austria will officially continue vaccinating its population on Jan. 12, Vienna will begin next Wednesday, on Jan. 6.
    • “We won’t lose any time in Vienna,” said Health Councilor Peter Hacker. The city will inoculate as soon as more doses are available.
    • Starting Jan. 5, 5,000 doses are ready to be used. These are reserved for nursing home employees and residents, as well as for healthcare workers working in Viennese clinics and hospitals’ COVID-19 stations.
    • Vienna is on a tight deadline to prepare for the Jan. 6 vaccine roll out. According to the city, vaccination is a big administrative challenge, which must be approached step-by-step.
      • Until Jan. 5, vaccine, the necessary IT software, vaccine and administrative teams, and assistants must be organized. Additionally, registration and scheduling of appointments must be set up by Jan. 4.
    • The city plans to inoculate 7,040 individuals until Jan. 11. As of yesterday noon, Hacker’s office said 2,040 people had received the vaccine, including high-risk patients in nursing homes and employees in healthcare facilities.
    • Active registration is set to start mid-January. Further details will follow soon.
  • Starting this coming week,BioNTech-Pfizer is expected to deliver about 60,000 vaccine doses weekly to Austria for the entire month of January.
    • The first day of the vaccine roll out in the country was Dec. 27. According to the Health Ministry, the participation rate was above 50 percent.
    • So far, all individuals who have received the vaccine in Austria are doing well.
  • BioNTech wants to provide the European Union with more vaccine doses than previously planned. The company is in “advanced negotiations [with the EU] about if and how further vaccine doses from Europe can be made available for Europe this year,” said CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin yesterday.
    • Sahin hinted that BioNTech struck a deal with the EU Commission to provide additional 100 million doses.
    • The original deal had said the EU would receive 200 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine, with the option to purchase 100 million more. The two contractually agreed upon this a few days ago.
    • Sahin told the German magazine Der Spiegel that he is surprised about the EU’s reluctance to purchase additional doses from BioNTech. He said: “There was the assumption that many other companies would produce vaccines. Obviously that impression has prevailed: We’ll get enough, it won’t be so bad, and we have it under control. That surprised me.”
  • In an interview on ORF Vienna’s tourism director Norbert Kettner stated that the city’s tourism industry had suffered a loss of 72 percent in 2020. Kettner estimates that about one-fifth of all Viennese tourism businesses will be forced to shut down for good.
    • He calls this a “tragic situation” for city tourism and a “painful situation overall.”
    • Kettner expects normality to return in the third quarter of 2021.

January 1

  • Austrian ministries reported 2,096 new infections in the last 24 hours.
    • The seven-day incidence is currently 157 per 100,000 residents.

Cases Overview

Active casesHospitalizedIn intensive care (ICU)Deaths
Total19,3372,2433856,261
Daily change+97-99-11+39
In percent+0.5%-4.2%-2.8%+0.6%
Daily TestsRecoveredTested Positive
Total20,462334,901360,499
Daily change-4,187+1,949+2,085
In percent-17%+0.6%+0.6%

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, January 1, 2020.

  • Registration for the mass tests planned for Jan. 15 and 16 will begin on Monday for all federal states, with the exception of Carinthia (registration begins on Jan. 8). Individuals from Vienna, Burgenland, Styria, and Upper Austria (except for Linz) can register via the online portal Österreich Testet (Austria Tests). Lower Austrian residents must register here. People from Linz may register here.
    • Individuals who participate in the mass tests and receive a negative result may exit lockdown on Jan. 18. Those who had corona in the last three months may also leave the mandatory quarantine starting this date. All others must remain at home until Jan. 24.
    • In case of questions, call 0800/220330.
  • In his New Year’s briefing, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober urged the population to get vaccinated. This will help decide our fate and battle against the pandemic, he said.
  • BioNTech CEO and co-founder Dr. Ugur Sahin told the German magazine Der Spiegel that the company will receive more clarity on the trajectory of the production cycle for its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of January.
    • “We’re trying to find new cooperation partners who will produce for us,” said Sahin. “But it’s not like unused, specialized factories are available all over the world that could produce the required quality of the vaccine overnight.”
    • Sahin warned that the current number of available vaccines “does not look rosy … because there are no other approved vaccines and we have to fill this gap with our vaccine.”
    • BioNTech is working with its American partner Pfizer to explore the possibility of increasing production of its own preparation.
  • Labor Minister Christine Aschbacher told APA that there will be further assistance for companies following the termination of the third phase of the Corona-Kurzarbeit (short-term employment scheme) at the end of March.
    • “The firms that need Kurzarbeit will continue to receive it. Unfortunately, we cannot get all companies through the crisis and also cannot keep them alive artificially,” said Aschbacher.
  • The Austrian Center is continuing to offer free rapid tests to Viennese residents over the next few days. Each individual who wants to get tested must register here.
  • Vaccination has begun in Viennese care homes. Alone in one facility in the city’s 12th district 228 employees and residents have been inoculated.
  • This website visualizes the number of corona deaths in Austria with virtual candles. Users can sign a book of condolence and write memorial messages for the deceased.

December 31

  • Austrian ministries reported 2,913 new infections in the last 24 hours.
    • The seven-day incidence is 154 per 100,000 residents.

Cases Overview

Active casesHospitalizedIn intensive care (ICU)Deaths
Total19,2402,3423966,222
Daily change+928-65+1+73
In percent+5.1%-2.7%+0.3%+1.2%
Daily TestsRecoveredTested Positive
Total24,649332,952358,414
Daily change+6,424+1,962+2,963
In percent+35.2%+0.6%+0.8%

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, December 31, 2020.

  • In a press briefing, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said that, so far, all 6,000 inoculated individuals have reacted “very positively” to the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Anschober promised that he will provide a weekly update on the status of the vaccinated people in the next few weeks. He will also inform the population about new scientific evidence and service offerings.
    • The minister said that every vaccine has light side effects, such as redness, slight swelling, slight fever, and/or a small pain from the needle. However, this should not last for more than one to two days.
      • If the pain lasts longer, Anschober urges individuals to first talk to their doctor, and then, report their symptoms directly to the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (Bundesamt für Sicherheit im Gesundheitswesen, BASG). This is voluntary for patients, but required for doctors and pharmacies.
        • To report side effects:
          • Call 0800 555 621
          • Fill out this electronic reporting form
          • Print and fill out this paper form, and send it via:
            • E-mail: [email protected]
            • Postal service: BASG, 1200 Vienna, Traisengasse 5
            • Fax 0043 (0) 50 555 36207
  • In an interview on ZIB II yesterday evening, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz revealed details about the “free testing,” which is required to exit lockdown on Jan. 17.
    • The government plans to reopen shops and restaurants starting Jan. 18. Events can also take place starting this date. Only those who participate in the mass tests (planned for Jan. 16 and 17) and receive a negative corona test are freed from their homes. Others must remain in lockdown for an additional week (until Jan. 24).
      • Cultural and sporting event attendees as well as hotel guests must provide a negative test result that is no older than 48 hours.
        • Organizers are required to ask attendees/guests for a test when checking their tickets.
      • In gastronomy (cafes and restaurants), diners’ negative test result may be up to a week old.
        • Health authorities will conduct spot checks and may rely on the police for extra help.
          • Kurz stressed that restaurants will be required to adopt special security measures. He said that it is a “mistake to believe” that the gastronomy will open around the clock on Jan. 18.
  • Anschober told APA that his “personal dream” is to get the number of new infections under 1,000. He also confirmed that the current “hard” lockdown will end on Jan. 24 (Jan. 18 for those who get tested).
    • His”minimum goal” is to get the seven-day incidence value to under 100. The R-value should be 0.8 at the most. He wants the number of occupied intensive care beds to be 200 and below.
    • The mass tests planned for mid-January should “again reduce the infection situation,” says Anschober. In the first few weeks of January, the minister will also announce which professional groups must get tested regularly following the current lockdown.
    • The minister also indicated that he projects schools will return to in-person instruction starting on Jan. 18..
    • Anschober also ensured that anyone who is interested in getting the corona vaccine will be informed in a timely manner. High-risk groups will be given priority. He emphasized that everyone who wants to get inoculated will get the vaccine by the summer.
      • This plan is dependent on the approval of vaccines in the European Union and deliveries in Austria.

December 30

  • 6,000 people in Austria have received vaccines for the coronavirus.
  • Innsbruck’s Mayor Georg Willi decided that they will make available mass coronavirus testing between January 15th and 17th.
  • Great Britain was the first to approve the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine. The European Medicines Agency will decide in January on this vaccine option for the EU.
  • Today, Germany confirmed a record number of deaths in one day from coronavirus at 1,129.

Cases Overview

Daily TestsRecoveredTested Positive
Total15,563330,990356,913
Daily change-5,683+2,206+2,550
In percent-26.7%+0.7%+0.5%

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, December 30, 2020.

December 29

  • Vienna’s City Councilor for Education Christoph Wiederkehr (NEOS) wants an early end to the lockdown in schools.
    • He demands that school classes should be reopened on Jan. 11, at least in Vienna, in a New Year’s interview with “Wien heute.”
    • The federal government is currently planning to reopen schools on Jan. 18.
    • Wiederkehr emphasized: “For parents, the balancing act between home office and home schooling is daunting.”
    • The  number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants in each of the past 7 days – had dropped from over 400 to about 100 in the past 6 weeks.
    • The vice mayor said: “It is even possible that the traffic light color for Vienna will be switched to orange.”
  • The renowned vaccine researcher and virologist Florian Krammer assumes that the vaccination will protect for several years and that private life will normalize faster than public life.
    • Florian Krammer: “Almost 2 million people have already been vaccinated in the last few weeks, and there have been few problems so far.”
    • He also stated: “Rare, severe complications occasionally occur with vaccinations (e.g. allergic reactions). I would not worry about long-term effects.”
    • Vaccine expert Krammer added: “I would definitely recommend both vaccinations.”
    • Krammer pointed out: “There are studies being conducted to see how tolerable the vaccines are for children.”
  • Austrian ministries reported 1,868 new infections in the last 24 hours. The 7-day incidence stands at 152 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

December 28

  • Vaccination has begun in Austria. Now more details about the plan are emerging.
    • In a first phase, starting on January 12 according to Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens), people living or working in senior and care homes shall be vaccinated.
    • In a second phase starting in February, elderly people not living in care homes and other risk patients shall get access to the vaccine.
    • Anschober hopes to do this with the help of general practitioners (GPs) in a “decentralized manner,” which is why the expected vaccine of Astra Zeneca – which has easier storage requirements than the already-approved Pfizer-Biontech vaccine – may play a big role.
    • In a third phase, the public may get access to the vaccine, again in a decentralized manner: from personal doctors, in companies, municipalities or at local healthcare providers.
    • This strategy differs from the approach Germany took, which built several big “vaccination centers” and plans to give the jab there to large parts of the population.
  • Since Thursday, the “Eistraum” iceskating rink in Vienna has been open.
    • Due to lively interest, the city has now double the number of booths for registration.
    • A personalized “distance measurement system” there ensures that people keep the distance even when on the ice.
  • Austrian ministries reported 1,592 new infections in the last 24 hours.
    • The 7-day incidence stands at 152 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Cases Overview

Active casesHospitalizedIn intensive care (ICU)Deaths
Total20,7852,5104215,931
Daily change-2,224+53+7+50
In percent-9.7%+2.2%+1.7%+0.9%
Daily TestsRecoveredTested Positive
Total21,246326,768353,484
Daily change+11,337+3,766+1,592
In percent+114.4%+1.2%+0.5%

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, December 28, 2020.

Amina Frassl
Amina is Metropole's online content manager. She writes about news and news analysis and is currently completing her studies in journalism and politics at NYU.

Numbers

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

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.