CoV on December 8 | Vaccine Approval Ahead

The coronavirus is shaping our lives. Here’s everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Austria on December 8, 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 8, 2020

  • The UK has started to vaccinate its population today. In the US and the EU, emergency authorization for the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine is expected in the coming days and weeks.
    • As health authorities assess the data of the vaccine studies, more information also gets published in the interest of transparency.
    • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scheduled a meeting for December 10, on which it is expected to issue an emergency use authority (EUA) for the vaccine.
    • See below a chart of the incidence of COVID-19 in the group who got the vaccine shot (blue) and the one who got a placebo (red) in Pfizer/Biontech’s phase 3 study.
    • As can be seen, the incidence stays almost flat after the second vaccine shot which is administered about 14 days after the first.
    • Furthermore, even the fewer cases that were contracted in the vaccine group were largely significantly milder than in the comparable placebo group.
    • The difference that can be seen below is what results in a calculated efficiency of protection of 95% for the vaccine.

  • On the first day of the CoV mass tests for police forces, about 20% of law enforcement and administrative officials have been tested already.
    • 7,654 of a total of 39,154 employees of the Ministry of the Interior took part in the test yesterday.
    • The “double test strategy” grants employees the opportunity to undergo a second test from December 14 to 17 in order to increase the certainty of results.
    • A total of 86,000 antigen tests have been purchased and will be distributed to those in need in two tranches (38,000, 48,000).
    • In a statement to the APA, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) spoke of a “great turnout on the first day”.
  • In Viennese hospitals, the first retired employees are already helping out during the coronavirus pandemic.
    • 15 people from various departments will support the increasingly overworked hospital staff in the coming months.
  • Austrian ministries reported 2,377 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: 259
      • Lower Austria: 304
      • Upper Austria: 456
      • Salzburg: 241
      • Styria: 361
      • Tyrol: 263
      • Vorarlberg: 75
      • Vienna: 362
    • The number of known active cases in Austria fell by -2,967 (-7%) to 39,388.
    • The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients rose slightly by +32 (+0.8%) to a total of 3,917.
    • Of those, 609 are in intensive care, -7 (-1.1%) fewer than before.
    • Yesterday, 105 died from COVID-19 in Austria, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,002.
  • A study carried out at the University Hospital of Innsbruck concludes that CoV genes have stable long-term immunity.
    • This has consequences for practical applications, for example when working in exposed areas or when vaccinating.
    • Antibodies were determined in all 29, previously affected subjects at 3 points in time, 2-8 weeks, 3 months and 6 months after onset of symptoms.
    • According to Deisenhammer, Head of Research Group for Neuroimmunology at the Medical University Innsbruck, convalescents do not have to worry about new illnesses from the CoV virus.
    • With all cases of recent Covid-19 infections known to him, there merely are reactivations of the virus and no genuine new diseases.
  • Great Britain was the first western country to start a vaccination campaign against the coronavirus.
    • The first step was taken by 90-year-old Margaret Keenan  in Coventry, she received an injection containing the active ingredient from the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Biontech.
    • Keenan is the first person outside of a clinical trial to receive the drug on which hopes for containing the pandemic lie.
  • The zoo in Barcelona, Spain, reports the infection of 4 lions with the coronavirus.
    • Two employees have also tested positive.
  • In federal museums, the self-coverage ratio (own revenues to total expenditure) has fallen dramatically since the first lockdown.
    • The Belvedere is forecasting  37% instead of 80%, the KHM 33% instead of 52%, the Albertina 52% instead of 71%, the MAK 25% instead of 37% and the mumok 13% instead of 28% in comparison to last year.
    • The Belvedere (256% of sales revenues) and the Albertina (135%) are doing comparatively well.
    • The largest loss of visitors can be recorded with Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM), Weltmuseum Wien and the Theatermuseum Wien.
    • According to an extrapolation from Oct. 23, negative annual results as of Aug. 31 2021, for the Burgtheater with -10.8 million Euros, the Volksoper Wien with -7.3 million Euros and the Wiener Staatsoper with -27.5 million Euros are to be expected.

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.