After the Austrian government took increasingly drastic measures in March to contain the coronavirus, the country successfully flattened the curve in April, and gradually reopened shops, schools and restaurants again in May. In June, public life in Austria got slowly back to something like normality – with new rules for behavior and hygiene.
For a wrap-up of current measures and developments, check out our current Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna article, with daily updates.
Here’s a timeline of what happened in Austria in June 2020.
June 30, 2020:
- The European Union formally agreed on opening the external borders of the EU to several countries outside the European economic area and travel zone.
- Travelers from these countries are free to travel to Europe: Japan, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Rwanda, Serbia, Montenegro, Georgia, Uruguay, Thailand, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia.
- Travelers from Russia, Brazil and the US are banned from entering the EU due to high numbers of active coronavirus cases and new infections.
- The director of the Complexity Science Hub (CSH) Vienna warned of a potential second wave of coronavirus cases in Austria. The CSH developed a “traffic light” corona warning systems, both for Austria and the world, based on recent test results.
- In recent days, several Austrian districts (Bezirke) switched from green light (less than 1.0 positively tested cases per 10,000 people in the last 14 days) to yellow light (between 1 and 10 positively tested cases per 10,000 inhabitants).
- The newly yellow Austrian districts are in Upper Austria (Linz, Wels and surroundings) as well as in Lower Austria (St. Pölten and Neunkirchen). Vienna stays yellow, as it has for weeks now.
- Several other countries in Europe that had the virus well under control or never had many cases have also recently seen an uptick in new cases – for example Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and, to a lesser extent, also Poland, Czechia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Slovakia.
- Complexity researcher Stefan Thurner (CSH) pointed out the renewed “regional spread” in some Austrian regions and cautioned not to travel to countries with a red light. Personally, Thurner said he would also avoid traveling to countries with yellow light at the moment.
- Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) declared that the number of newly tested positive coronavirus cases in Austria on Tuesday, June 30, was back down to 48 new cases. The number of active infections fell under 600. Vigilance and keeping the distance rule is still highly recommended.
- More than 80 new coronavirus cases were registered in Austria yesterday, the highest number in several weeks.
- With active coronavirus cases in Vienna stable around 272 in the last weeks, case numbers in other regions have recently been on the rise again. Concretely, the federal states of Upper Austria (124), Lower Austria (101), Styria (32) and Salzburg (32) have seen an uptick in cases.
June 29, 2020:
- Active coronavirus cases in Austria are on the rise again. With 74 new infections detected on Sunday and a total of 551 active cases, the total number of cases has risen by 48% from a low more than two weeks ago.
- Travelers from areas with very high new infection rates – for example the district Gütersloh in Germany – have to present a negative COVID-19 test result when entering Austria and staying here overnight. With this step, Austria aims to implement a phased strategy, giving it flexibility to react to regional outbreaks of the virus while keeping borders open.
June 26, 2020:
- Vienna’s cinemas open their doors again today to visitors.
- Viennese scientists have developed a new fast and easy coronavirus test that is significantly cheaper than previous versions.
- For the classical PRC test – now the most widespread method – blood samples need to be heated to 95° Celsius and special devices are needed for the analysis.
- For the new test, a stable temperature of 63° Celsius is enough (i.e. temperatures that can be reached with kitchen appliances), making the procedure faster, easier and cheaper. After 30 minutes, the result can be seen on a test strip.
- The researchers underlined that the new method could be particularly attractive for testing in emerging or developing countries, where the right equipment is often not at hand and resource constraints make widespread testing harder.
- Starting today, Friday, June 26, a new version of the Austrian Red Cross’s “Stopp Corona” app is available. The updated version is now also fully compatible with iOS – allowing digital handshakes to work “automatically” via bluetooth – and can now also be downloaded by phones bought or registered in other countries.
- The “Stopp Corona” app tracks contacts of people you spend more than 15 minutes in close contact with (i.e. in a room) with an anonymized “digital handshake.”
- If somebody then tests positive for the virus, they can inform all former contacts via the app, again anonymously, so that they can take the proper precautions and self-quarantine.
- You can find more information about the “Stopp Corona” app (in German) here.
- A new poll showed that only 8.4% of people in Austria currently see the coronavirus as a “big” or ”very big” risk. Hans-Peter Hutter, doctor at the Medical University of Vienna, now warned of this new “casualness” in dealing with the virus – heightened caution is still very much warranted. Hutter recommends:
- To continue avoiding to shake hands (“it’s definitely too early for handshakes”) and keep the minimum distance to people not living in your own household or close to you.
- Further, to keep wearing masks in indoor spaces where several people meet each other, specifically in public transport, shops and supermarkets – also if mask-wearing is officially not mandatory anymore.
- Hutter also said that the next couple of weeks will show whether current and past steps to relax measures further were the right ones or have to be retrenched once again.
- An in-depth antibody study of the Medical University of Innsbruck with 1,500 participants in the Tyrolean village of Ischgl, famed for its pistes and infamous for having been one of the of the early coronavirus hotspots in Austria and Europe, has yielded astonishing results:
- Exactly 42.4% of the tested populace have antibodies against COVID-19, meaning that they had and successfully beat an infection with the virus.
- The seroprevalence – i.e. the prevalence of antibodies in the population of Ischgl – is the highest recorded in any place in the world so far.
- 1,259 adults and 214 children were tested, with adults showing a significantly higher for having the antibodies.
- About 85% of those who had the infections did not have noticeable symptoms, underlining once again that the number of undetected cases is likely to be quite high in many places.
- Several of the participants declared that they had lost their sense of smell or taste for several days or weeks at the beginning of the year – practically everybody with these “light” symptoms tested positive for having had the virus.
- The study also showed that the virus was in all likelihood already present in Ischgl in February 2020, potentially even earlier.
- In Lower Austria, more than 2,300 people were ordered to stay in home quarantine for two weeks. Several cases of coronavirus were detected in the area of Neunkirchen and following a party. Local authorities reacted with sweeping tests and targeted self-quarantine for everyone affected.
June 25, 2020:
- Starting in July, masks will not be mandatory anymore for waitresses, waiters and other workers in bars and restaurants.
- The mandated earlier closing time of 01:00 in the morning for clubs, restaurants and bars will be lifted for events with 100 or fewer people. Places can soon open at 05:00 instead of 06:00 in the morning.
- On July 1, the obligation of keeping a minimum distance when doing team sports will expire, allowing amateur football leagues to restart in the fall.
- A €390 million package for testing & tracing is supposed to ensure that the spread of the virus stays under control, despite the current steps to relax certain containment measures.
- Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) and Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) stressed Austria’s low numbers of new infections, but also underlined that “the mask will still be needed” and that regional lockdowns are on the cards in case of new regional outbreaks.
- Starting in September, team sports and big events (with 5,000-10,000) can expect further loosened measures, if all goes well until then and under specific conditions.
June 23, 2020:
- Starting today, more than 1 million vouchers for local bars and restaurants will be send out to more than 950,000 Viennese households. About 2,000 restaurants accept the vouchers which are worth between €25-50.
- All restaurants and bars accepting the voucher are listed on the website wienergastrogutscheint.at.
- For those who would like to donate the voucher, several initiatives have sprung up:
- The initiative #aufstehn has a list of social institutions that you can share the voucher with.
- You can donate it to the Diakonie and its support network, either via post or by bringing it by at one of 17 locations in Vienna.
- The Caritas is also happy to accept donations for the many socially advantaged people they take care of.
- The Volkshilfe Wien has a special initiative where you can donate your food vouchers for the poor.
- The Viennese Gruft, a homeless shelter run by the Caritas in Barnabitengasse, close to Mariahilferstraße, also happy accepts donated vouchers.
- For people who would like to donate the
- The number of actively with COVID-19 infected people in Austria rose again slightly in comparison to last week. Currently, 454 people have the virus, 68 are in a hospital and 11 get intensive care. The number of active infections in Austria has been oscillating around 400 for several weeks now.
- Following the meeting of a Rotary club in Salzburg, several new coronavirus infections appeared in the group. The local authorities said that the cluster of infections is clearly definable and that all affected people are already in quarantine.
June 22, 2020:
- Starting this autumn, school events such as sport or project weeks or school hiking trips will again be permitted in Austria.
June 20, 2020:
- The London-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) judged the public policy response of mostly advanced OECD countries to the pandemic in a new index.
- Austria shares the 2nd place on the index with Germany and behind just New Zealand, among a number of mostly rich countries that were analyzed.
- The country got top grades in several categories and a “very good” assessment, despite a difficult starting position due to high exposure to international travel and some other additional factors (average age of population, prevalence of obesity).
- The policy responses of the UK, Italy, Spain and Belgium were judged as “poor,” landing the countries at the bottom of the list.
- The number of active coronavirus cases in Austria has again been on the rise in recent days, reaching 460 active cases on Sunday, June 20. Thirty new cases confirmed in Vienna alone. The number of people hospitalized with the virus (currently 74) and in intensive care (currently 8) meanwhile stayed stable.
- Following the positive coronavirus test of a 25-year old man, the ÖBB informed the public that the man had traveled on June 8 with a Railjet, leaving Vienna at 17:30 and arriving in Innsbruck at 21:45. Local health authorities have called on all people who traveled in the same train to call the coronavirus info-line 1450 if they have experienced flu-like symptoms since then.
June 17, 2020:
- The number of active infections and COVID-19 patients continues to decrease in Austria. At the moment, 417 people in Austria have an active coronavirus infection, 71 patients are treated in Austrian hospitals for COVID-19.
- The Austrian government has started to present some keypoints of a planned €19 billion stimulus package to support the economy’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Details are still to follow in the coming days, two “climate billions” have already been announced. Taken together with other crisis measures, the government claims its total support measures amount to up to €50 billion (12.5% of Austrian GDP).
June 16, 2020:
- As of today, Austria permits again travels to and from 31 European countries. Travelers do not need to go into quarantine or present a coronavirus test result when traveling to Austria from these countries. Different rules may still apply for entering some of these countries coming from Austria. The 31 countries are:
- Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark and the Färöer islands, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy (a travel warning is still in force for the province of Lombardy), Croatia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Cyprus and the micro states Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City.
June 15, 2020:
- The government is currently holding a two-day summit to discuss measures to support people and the economy hit by the coronavirus. Two measures were already announced beforehand:
- All people who are registered as unemployed in Austria will get a one-time payment of €450 in the coming months.
- And all families in Austria will get a one-time extra payment of €360 per child.
- Furthermore, the government is discussing lowering the first rate of income tax (from currently 25% to 20%) and reducing social security payments. Details to follow in the coming days.
June 14, 2020:
- The mask (or mouth-nose-protection) has become one of the symbols of the Corona era. A recent study from Germany has shown that masks help to “considerably reduce COVID-19 cases.” But with currently active cases below 300 in Austria, the rules for mandatory mask wearing will be further loosened. As of tomorrow, Monday, June 15:
- Masks will not be mandatory anymore in supermarkets, stores, schools, restaurants, bars or hotels.
- Risk groups are still advised to wear a protection for mouth and nose, everybody else is asked to proceed with caution and wear masks voluntarily when in close spaces with many people.
- Masks will still be mandatory when riding public transport, at doctor’s offices, hospitals or when using a service that can only be delivered in close proximity (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, taxis etc.).
- Several Austrian doctors cautioned that this loosening of rules is only justified by the currently very low numbers; masks could well become mandatory again in more locations in a couple of weeks or months, if cases numbers start to rise again.
- Austrian Airlines (AUA), the country’s flag carrier and main airline of Vienna Airport, will resume scheduled flights on Monday, June 15. The AUA will start to fly to 20 destinations in Europe, flights to long-distance destinations will resume on July 1.
- The regional representation (Bezirksvertretung) of Vienna’s First District apparently plans to turn the Inner City into a mostly car-free area. Plans for a future traffic concept are scheduled to be presented next week, but details already leaked to the press beforehand.
June 12, 2020:
- The Austrian government floated plans to reduce the value added tax (VAT) in the cultural sector, for the arts and for bars and restaurants to 5% for half a year, starting on July 1 (currently the VAT is either 10% or 20%).
- The measures is aimed at boosting sectors that were hit particularly hard by the coronavirus lockdown of public life and the economy.
- The number of active coronavirus cases in most parts of Europe continues to fall. Central Europe – including Austria – has a particularly low count at the moment.
- In a comparison of Austrian federal states (Bundesländer) regarding the number of coronavirus tests per capita, Vienna comes out on top. In June, laboratories in the capital tested every day on average 1,964 people for COVID-19; that’s 103 people for every 100,000 citizens.
- Vienna’s City Councilor for Health, Peter Hackmann (SPÖ), maintains that the high number of testing and the focus on family and company clusters allowed the city to spot many asymptomatic cases early on and arrest a further spread of the virus.
June 11, 2020:
- In a third randomized case study for the prevalence of COVID-19 in Austria with 1,279 randomized participants, no one tested positive for the coronavirus. This confirms experts’ and the governments’ view that the virus is currently under control and that most active cases are being traced by ongoing testing.
June 10, 2020:
- The Austrian Foreign Ministry announced a further easing of travel restrictions. Starting on June 16, the coronavirus travel measures will be lifted for a total of 31 countries in Europe. Travelers from Austria will be able to cross the border to Italy and travel to Croatia, for example, additional to free travel to other neighboring countries. Restrictions still apply for Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Sweden and the Lombardy region in Italy.
June 9, 2020:
- An Austrian anti-body test for COVID-19 will soon be available. Researchers at Viennese Universities build on the work of New York-based Austrian researcher Florian Krammer, who developed the first anti-body test for the disease in early spring. The Austrian tests are scheduled to be available in the summer.
June 8, 2020:
- Austria’s cultural institutions are opening their doors again. The Vienna Philharmonic held their first post-Corona concert in the Goldener Saal des Wiener Musikvereins last Friday, in front of an audience of 100 people (instead of the usual 2,000 guests).
- Between a third and half of all kindergarten children are still at home in Vienna.
June 7, 2020:
- Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) declared himself optimistic that a second wave of the coronavirus in Austria can be avoided. Anschober stressed the importance of testing and vigilance, but also said he expects universities and school to get back to normal in the fall.
June 6, 2020:
- Only 17 people are currently in an intensive care unit (ICU) for the coronavirus in all of Austria. The total number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals fell to 72.
June 5, 2020:
- Hungary, Slovenia, Czechia and Slovakia opened their borders today, June 5, 2020. for Travelers from Austria are free to come and go without the need to go into quarantine or present a negative COVID-19 test result.
- The number of people in Austria suffering from COVID-19 continues to decline. As of June 5, 2020, there were 318 people with an active coronavirus infection in Austria. 87 patients were hospitalized with the disease, 22 of which were in intensive care.
- The Austrian National Bank expects the Austrian economy to shrink by 7.2% this year. Next year, the economy is projected to recover with growth of 4.9%.
June 3, 2020:
- Austria will open the borders to all neighboring countries except Italy tomorrow on Thursday, June 4, 2020. For Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czechia and Hungary, the same rules as before the pandemic will apply. There will no longer be any quarantine or testing requirements when entering Austria.
June 1, 2020:
- The number of people in Austria suffering from COVID-19 continues its steep downward trend. At the beginning of April, there were 9,200 known active infections in Austria; at the beginning of May, there were 1,800 patients; now, at the beginning of June, this number fell to 378 active infections.
Graphics about coming out of quarantine:
Timetable for coming out of quarantine
Timeline for the Cultural Reopening
Rules for going to a restaurant post-Corona
Timeline for reopening schools
For length, clarity and loading times, we have decided to split off the timeline of what happened in other into separate articles: “The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in March” & “The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in April” & “The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in May.”
As of today, July 6, 2020, the situation in Austria according to the Ministry of Health is as follows:
People tested: 654,105
– of which in Vienna: 176,467
Daily tests: 6,805
Confirmed cases: 18,270 (+62 cases (+0.3%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 4,042
Active cases: 1,012 (+53 cases (+6%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 347
Total hospitalized: 78 (+6 cases (+8.3%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 30
In intensive care: 11 (+1 case (+10%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 7
Recovered: 16,647 (+32 cases (+0.2%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 3,555
Deceased: 706 (+1 case (+0.1%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 198
The Ministry of Health has also developed a COVID-19 dashboard with details on the coronavirus outbreak in Austria, listing for example affected regions, age groups, gender and status of the cases.
The privately organized coronatracker also provides up-to-date information on the virus in Austria (in German).
The City of Vienna has compiled comprehensive information on questions and answers regarding coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease 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.
Health advice by telephone: 1450
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.
How to wash your hands, properly
The World Health Organization (WHO) as well as national and international health organizations stress how crucial proper hand-hygiene is to slow the spread of the disease.
Make sure that you and everybody around you clean their hands regularly, properly (20 seconds or more) and with soap – soap actually kills the virus.
Reduce physical contact (instead of handshake do an elbow bunch or Vulcan greeting, for instance) where possible.
We will keep updating this page as new developments unfold. Keep safe, keep informed and live long and prosper 🖖!