CoV on December 10 | Tussle Over Police Powers

The coronavirus is shaping our lives. Here’s everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Austria on December 10, 2020 – updated regularly.

Reporting on COVID-19 in Austria is brought to you by Benjamin Wolf, Amina Frassl & Daniel El-Sabeh.

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

We also prepared in-depth coverage about about Vienna’s mass testing campaign for you.

And if you want to know how Austria will open up after the second lockdown, we’ve got you covered.

Here is a wrap-up of the measures currently in place in Austria, as they were announced, and information about the situation in general.

Get yourself tested! From Dec. 4-13, 08:00-18:00, everyone in Vienna can get a free rapid antigen test in the Stadthalle, the Marxhalle and the Messehalle. Register at österreich-testet.at.

December 10, 2020

  • After changes to the corresponding amendment this evening, the police will probably not be allowed to enter private homes for coronavirus investigations after all.
    • The changed decree now stipulates that the police may enter business premises, means of transport, other buildings and localities if this is urgently necessary for coronavirus investigation and control measures.
    • Private homes, on the other hand, may not be entered depending of the outcome of current discussions. The whole thing will be decided tomorrow.
    • This was the result of a draft amendment to the Epidemics Act, which is available to ORF.at.
    • It stipulated an explicit right of access for the public security service, enabling them, alongside the health authorities, to monitor compliance with segregation obligations, for example.
    • Jörg Leichtfried, deputy head of the SPÖ, had seen this as a serious encroachment on private life, especially since the regulation would be unlimited in time.
    • In the future, registration of persons, necessary for contact tracing, may be mandatory in the catering and hotel industry, as well as in sports facilities, leisure and cultural institutions, hospitals and old people’s homes.
    • A corresponding amendment, available to APA, is to be passed by the National Council tomorrow.
    • All of this will only apply if the person spends more than fifteen minutes at the facility or event.
    • The data is to be transmitted to the health authorities upon request.
    • Private areas, takeaways, gatherings and commerce are exempt from this regulation.
    • The Christmas travel regulation will no longer focus only on high-risk countries, but on all countries.
  • The CoV vaccination strategy is available online since today on the Ministry of Health website.
    • According to the graphic and a document dated Dec. 9, there will be three vaccination phases in 2021.
    • The first phase will cover January and February 2021, where vaccines will be available on a limited basis, according to the Ministry of Health.
    • The targeted group for phase 1 will be residents of nursing- and retirement homes, as well as healthcare workers and people with certain pre-existing conditions.
    • In phase 2, where people of older age and critical infrastructure work forces are vaccinated, from Feb.to Apr. 2021, more vaccine will be available, it says.
    • Phase 3 concerns the vaccination of the general population.
    • From phase 2 on, public vaccination centers, doctors in private practices as well as company- and school doctors will be added to the procedure.
  • Vaccination for Austria will begin in January. The elderly and most vulnerable will be the first to be vaccinated, followed by caregivers and medical staff.
    • “The roadmap for CoV vaccination is fixed,” Clemens Martin Auer, special representative in the Ministry of Health, revealed at the press conference of the Association of Vaccine Manufacturers on Wednesday.
    • “Unlike Germany, we have developed a decentralized distribution concept,” Auer said.
  • On Wednesday after the Council of Ministers, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) stated: A “tougher lockdown” at Christmas and the beginning of January should be avoided.
    • Among other things, the mass tests for which the government once again strongly advocated will help in this respect.
    • The Minister of Health warned: “The coming four weeks, with Christmas shopping and the holidays are the most important phase of all and very risky.”
    • Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) feels confirmed by the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina regarding the hard lockdown in Austria.
    • According to Anschober, the measures will continue to have an effect for the next 10 days. Next week, the number of new infections per day will fall below the 2,000 mark.
    • On Wednesday, the ministries reported 2,932 new infections, compared to 3,501 recoveries.
    • Interior Minister Nehammer appealed to the population to participate in the mass tests saying: “Those who test provide security.”
  • The effects of the coronavirus pandemic were once again at the center of the debate at the beginning of the National Council session today.
    • NEOS chairwoman Beate Meinl-Reisinger did not leave a good hair on the government’s actions: “You have managed the second Corona wave very, very badly.”
    • Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) came to the defense of the coalition and warned that the debate was in danger of getting “out of kilter”.
    • Kogler doubted whether a convention would be the “optimal instrument” for urgency, but said he was “open” to discussing it at the parliamentary level.
    • The vice chancellor expressed confidence that with the federal government’s catalog of measures and “with the conditions we have in Austria,” 2021 would be a “comeback year.”
  • Austrian ministries reported 2.686 new cases in the last 24 hours.The number of known active cases fell by -1,556 (-4 %) to a total of 37,537.
    • The federal states reported the following numbers of new infections:
      • Burgenland: 45
      • Carinthia: 207
      • Lower Austria: 380
      • Upper Austria: 445
      • Salzburg: 249
      • Styria: 322
      • Tyrol: 225
      • Vorarlberg: 149
      • Vienna: 664
    • The number of daily tests is at around 28,000.
    • The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 fell by considerable -74 (-1.9%), to currently 3,780.
    • Of those, 585 are in intensive care, a slight decrease by -25 (-4.1%) to the day before.
    • Since yesterday, 107 people have died due to or with the virus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 4,163 people in Austria have died due to COVID-19.
  • The British Medicines Regulatory Authority MHRA warns against the administration of Pfizer- Biontech’s vaccine to people with a significant allergic history.
    • June Raine, MHRA’s Chief Executive Officer says: “Persons with a history of anaphylactic shock from vaccinations, drugs or food should not receive the Pfizer Biontech vaccine.”
    • The warning came yesterday after two cases of severe allergic reactions occurred during the first coronavirus vaccinations in the UK.
  • In Burgenland, mass testing for the coronavirus starts today.
    • Until 15 December, locals have the opportunity to be tested in 34 communities.
    • Test stations are available in 25 municipalities; nine further towns will be served by two test buses.
    • The stations are open from 07:30 to 18:30.
  • In view of the still precarious coronavirus situation and the approaching holidays, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has called for a more stringent approach.
    • Merkel spoke of the current CoV case numbers which are at “alarming levels.”
    • According to the German Chancellor “t is clear that the measures taken so far are not sufficient, “the number of contacts is too high.”
    • The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported a new high on Wednesday with 590 coronavirus deaths within 24 hours.
    • In arithmetical terms, this means that approximately every 2 and a half minutes a person in Germany, which has a population of about 83 million, dies with or of the virus.
    • The number of new infections increased by 20,815 to over 1.218 million. That is about 3,500 more than on Wednesday last week.
    • “The hard lockdown is coming in triple steps,” was the headline in the German business daily Handelsblatt on Wednesday.
    • Christian Drosten, head of the Virology Department at the Berlin Charite, says: “If no readjustments are made now, a lockdown with serious consequences threatens at the end of January and beyond February.”
  • In the Czech Republic, the parliament has approved an extension of the coronavirus emergency up to December 24.
    • The current state of emergency allows the government to suspend basic rights such as freedom of assembly.
    • Today, authorities reported 5,848 new infections within 24 hours – more than in 2 weeks. In total, there have already been almost 557,000 infections and more than 9,100 deaths counting a population of 10.7 million.
  • Slovakia has decided on a gradual lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
    • Prime Minister Igor Matovic today presented a plan that provides for different dates for the country to begin restrictions depending on the sector.
  • Students who need space and infrastructure for learning during the coronavirus pandemic can use three Viennese coffee houses for this purpose from Dec.10.
    • The rooms are available free of charge in the afternoons until Christmas.
    • The “Cafe Museum” on Karlsplatz, “Cafe Frauenhuber” in the inner city and “The Legends” in Wien-Landstraße are offering the chance for a change of scenery, primarily to high school students, until Christmas.
    • Reservations can be made through the “Book Your Room” platform, which already offers hotel rooms for learning.
    • The first slots – available from 14:00 to 16:00 and 17:00 to 19:00 – are already allocated for Thursday.
    • Beverages and meals may not be sold according to regulations.
  • In a hacker attack on the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Biontech and Pfizer reported that documents on the pharmaceutical companies’ coronavirus vaccine were accessed.
    • This was announced by Biontech on Wednesday evening. There is no indication that patient data is affected.
    • The shares of Biontech and Pfizer slipped by up to 3.5 percent on Wall Street.
  • A new COVID-19 model provides reproduction number estimates and 3-week ahead projections of hotspots for all 94 districts of Austria, now available online.
    • Developed by team of scientists from the Medical University Vienna and the Imperial College London, the tool seeks to inform the public and increase transparency.
    • The site gives estimates of the reproduction number of COVID-19 and projections of cases for districts in Austria based on testing data and mortality data.
    • Changes in measures and lockdowns are not an explicit part of the model; hence their effect may not appear for 1-2 weeks post the date of implementation.
    • All estimates and projections have uncertainty/probability measures associated with them. Central estimates should be treated cautiously: look at the range.
    • Projections of cases assume that interventions (e.g. lockdowns, school closures) and behaviour patterns do not change.
    • A statistical model is used to estimate quantities that cannot be directly measured, such as the reproduction number R. No model is perfect, hence the model’s limitations are listed on the site, too.

On the next page, you find an overview of all measures currently in place in Austria.

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Daniel Jacob El-Sabeh
Daniel is half Austrian, with German Russian and Italian Lebanese roots, and grew up in Vienna and Lower Austria. Before joining Metropole, he worked as a Chef de Rang in numerous hotels. He's a hobby composer, film buff, and retro enthusiast.

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.