CoV on December 17 | Contact Tracing Rebounds in Austria

The coronavirus is shaping our lives. Here’s everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Austria on December 17, 2020 – updated regularly.

Reporting on the coronavirus in Vienna and Austria is brought to you by Benjamin Wolf, Amina Frassl & Daniel El-Sabeh.

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

Here’s how Austria will open up after the second lockdown.

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

December 17, 2020

News from Austria

  • Federal states who have given up on contact tracing during the height of the second wave have now again restarted it in a serious way.
    • In Vienna, for example, the percentage of cases that could be effectively tracked and traced rose from a nadir of merely 30% on November 15 to almost 60% on December 15.
    • In most other federal states, the share of effectively traced cases plummeted below 10% in November before rebounding recently to between 15% and 50%.
    • Contact tracing still works very badly in Lower Austria, Styria, Upper Austria and the Burgenland, whose success rate is below the Austrian average of approximately 30%.
    • Carinthia, Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg have success rates ranging between 30% and 50%, with Vienna in the lead with almost 60%.
    • See graphic below for more details and the curve in the last months.

  • The first CoV vaccinations could be given in Austria this year, in nursing homes in Vienna and Lower Austria.
    • A pharmaceutical wholesaler in Vienna-Simmering is to receive Austria’s first 10,000 vaccine doses – the refrigerators are prepared.
    • Pfizer gave assurances in a video conference with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) that it would begin delivering the first doses of vaccine immediately after approval.
    • This would mean that the first delivery could ideally arrive in Austria and all other EU countries as early as December 24.
    • Kurz stated that the first vaccinations could possibly take place on Dec. 24 already.
  • The number of new infections decreased slightly to 2,485 in the last 24 hours.
    • A new high was recorded with 218 deaths within 24 hours.
    • For the first time, more than 200 Corona deaths were reported in Austria in one day.
    • To a large extent, however, these are said to be follow-up reports from Vienna.
    • The number of known active cases fell by -1,227 (-3.8 %) to a total of 31,429.
    • The federal states reported the following numbers of new infections:
      • Burgenland: 62
      • Carinthia: 248
      • Lower Austria: 390
      • Upper Austria: 547
      • Salzburg: 202
      • Styria: 549
      • Tyrol: 252
      • Vorarlberg: 132
      • Vienna: 384
    • The number of daily tests is at around 28,000.
    • The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 fell by considerable -190 (-5.6%), to currently 3,220.
    • Of those, 530 are in intensive care, a slight decrease by -18 (-3.3%) to the day before.
    • Since the beginning of the pandemic, 4,982  people in Austria have died due to COVID-19.
  • Individual property managers are already pointing out to their tenants that operating costs will rise from 2021 onwards. Mentioned reasons include working from home and the absence of vacations.
    • Due to the pandemic Viennese daily routine habits have changed; leading to more water, electricity and heat consumption.
    • At Wiener Wohnen, which manages the Vienna municipal buildings, one did not want to go further into the possible increases.
    • A spokeswoman says: “At present, it is not possible to say whether there will be increases due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
    • Wien Energie expects an increase of 10% for energy consumption costs. However, this is only an estimate and depends on how much an individual worked from home.
    • An evaluation by the energy provider shows that energy consumption fell sharply in spring due to closed offices. During November, this was no longer as noticeable.
    • Employee representatives are now demanding compensation for home office energy costs from employers.
    • The Chamber of Labor reckoned with about 25 euros, which should be reimbursed as a lower limit. The Chamber of Commerce has a flat rate tax in mind.
  • The Chamber of Commerce expects at least 50,000 applications for support from the Hardship Fund for the ninth pandemic month (November 16 to December 15, 2020) these days.
    •  These can be applied for since yesterday.
    • So far, 810 million euros have been paid out, supporting 207,000 self-employed workers.
    • On average, 1,200 euros per person per month were subsidized, the chamber said.
  • Since yesterday evening, it has been possible to register for the free rapid tests in Tyrol.
    • An onslaught of requests led to system failures in the evening.
    • In the meantime, capacities have been increased and errors have been corrected, it was said.

Elsewhere in Europe & Around the World

  • French President Emmanuel Macron has been infected with CoV.
    • This was announced today by the Presidential Office in Paris. He will continue his duties as head of state in self-isolation, it said.
  • Slovakia has already brought forward the start of a lockdown planned for next week to this Saturday, strict curfew restrictions will go into effect.
    • This was announced yesterday by Health Minister Marek Krajci after an hour-long government meeting.
  • Vaccinations against the coronavirus are scheduled to begin in Germany on Dec. 27.
    • Health Minister Jens Spahn informed the Conference of Health Ministers about the approval and supply of the vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer.
    • Germany recently reported a peak in new deaths and a further increase in infection numbers. Health authorities reported 952 more deaths and 27,728 new infections.
    • A week ago, 20,815 new infections and 590 deaths had been reported.
  • Swedish King Carl XVI Gustav believes Sweden has not succeeded in its fight against the CoV pandemic, saying: “I think we have failed, and a large number that have died, that is terrible.”
  • French diagnostics company Biomerieux said it has received certification to sell a test that can distinguish coronavirus disease from influenza.
    • In addition, the test detects two other respiratory diseases with similar symptoms, the company announced yesterday.
    • Using a nasal swab, the test kits can detect influenza types A and B, Covid-19, and two other viral diseases.

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.

Austria and Vienna have lifted most coronavirus restrictions in the summer.  

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.