CoV on December 7 | Mass Testing Proceeds

The coronavirus is shaping our lives. Here’s everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Austria on December 7, 2020 – updated regularly.

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

Find here the daily coronavirus update 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 7, 2020

  • People who want to get a free rapid antigen test can now go to the testing site at the Vienna exhibition hall (Messehalle) with no need to pre-register.
  • Austrian ministries reported 2,263 new cases of coronavirus registered in the last 24 hours.
    • Austria’s federal states reported the the following numbers of new infections:
      • Burgenland: 56
      • Carinthia: 144
      • Lower Austria: 413
      • Upper Austria: 305
      • Salzburg: 148
      • Styria: 227
      • Tyrol: 263
      • Vorarlberg: 265
      • Vienna: 442
    • The number of known active cases in Austria fell by -1,840 (-3.9%) to 44,985.
    • The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients rose slightly by +83 (+2.2%) to a total of 3,885.
    • Of those, 616 are in intensive care, -16 (-2.5%) fewer than before.
    • Yesterday, 57 died from COVID-19 in Austria, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 3,897.
  • Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) is “skeptical” regarding further travel restrictions after January 10.
    • Between December 19 and January 10, Austria will require travelers coming from “risk countries” with more than 100 new infections in the last 14 days to quarantine for 10 days (people can “test themselves free” after 5 days).
    • The current remarks follow a row over some of Kurz’s remarks that seemed to suggest the second wave was to a significant part due to people with family connections in the Western Balkans coming back to Austria after the summer – which experts and journalists dispute in this form based on the available data.
    • Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) criticized Kurz for this “insensitive remarks,” but has shown himself open to further travel restrictions after January 10 to also forestall “party tourism” to neighboring cities such as Bratislava, Prague or countries such as Switzerland.
    • Kurz’s current remarks represent a rebuff to this idea. The chancellor said “it makes sense to maintain the Europe without borders.”
    • Find below a graphic provided by the ORF of Austria’s neighboring countries and their 14-day-incidence as of today. Currently, all of Austria’s neighbors would be designated as “risk countries” (note that Austria itself has one of the highest incidences in the region as well).
  • As of today, December 7, Austria’s second hard lockdown has been lifted.
    • That means shops, personal services (e.g. hairdressers, massage and cosmetic studios etc.) can reopen today.
    • Masks have to be worn insides stores and other public buildings.
    • Schools and kindergartens for pupils up to age 14 return to in-person instructions. Older students (except for those in the final grade) remain in distance learning.
    • The day-time restrictions on movement were lifted, while the night-time curfew (20:00-06:00) is still in force.
    • People can now meet with one other household at home. In public, the one-meter distance rule still applies.
    • Many other rules, restrictions and regulations are still in force, though. For more details, see graphics further below.

  • In Styria, you can register for your free rapid antigen test starting today.
    • The federal states plans to conduct mass testing on the weekend of December 12-13.
    • People can get tested at 185 testing sites across the country.
  • The share of positive cases among all coronavirus tests in Austria is still on a downward trend.
    • Austria’s positivity rate has fallen to 14% from more than 25% at its peak.
    • Neighboring Germany has been holding the rate steady at slightly below 10% in recent weeks.
    • The WHO advises that a test positivity rate of over 5% indicates that a substantial number of infections is being missed and thus many infection chains are not being found and broke early enough.
    • For a graphical representation of recent trends, see tweet below (the black line is the number of total tests, the red line the positivity rate).
  • The 7-day-incidence in Austria fell to 253 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the AGES.
    • These are the 7-day-incidences for Austria’s federal states (the lower, the better):
      • Vienna: 186
      • Lower Austria: 220
      • Burgenland: 221
      • Vorarlberg: 257
      • Tyrol: 275
      • Upper Austria: 290
      • Styria: 291
      • Salzburg: 333
      • Carinthia: 313
  • In Vorarlberg, 31.3% of the population attended the mass tests.
    • Out of 344,916 people permitted to take part part, 105,260 Vorarlberger got tested.
    • Of those, 472 were positive, which is 0.45%.
    • In neighboring Tyrol, participation over the mass test weekend reached 32%.
    • These rates are significantly lower than when neighboring Slovakia and South Tyrol conducted mass testing campaigns – in both, the participation reached 80% or more.
    • However, while the mass tests were partly obligatory in Slovakia and were connected to further potential opening steps in South Tyrol, in Austria nothing like that was announced, dampening motivation to get tested.

Borders, Schools, Retail

Work, Hospitals, Culture

In Public

Night-Time Curfew

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

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.

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Benjamin Wolf, 

Managing Editor & COO