Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in September

The coronavirus has arrived in Austria. Here’s all you need to know about current measures, including where to get help, information and tips – updated regularly.

with additional reporting by Amina Frassl

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.

Life in Vienna got back to something like normality with summer arriving in June, while newly rising numbers in July have prompted regional lockdowns, quarantine, travel warnings and targeted measures. In August, the CoV-Ampel was introduced, and measures were gradually tightened.

In September, with cases rising again at a swift pace, stricter measures have been introduced and people were asked to limit private gatherings to 10 people at max.

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 September 2020.

September 30, 2020

  • Austria’s Ministry of Health said there are not planning for a new lockdown to take place at the end of October.
  • In the past 24 hours, 772 new infections were reported, with the largest increase taking place in Vienna.
    • This brings the number of active infections to 8,370.
    • 496 people are currently being treated in Austrian hospitals, 5 more (+1%) since yesterday. 90 patients are currently being treated in intensive care units, the same as yesterday.
    • So far, 799 people have died with or from COVID-19 in Austria since the start of the pandemic, 3 more (+0.4%) since yesterday.
  • Importantly, today is the last day for you to use your Wiener Gastrogutschein – if you haven’t already! Check out the list of restaurants taking the restaurant voucher here.
  • In economic news, the Austrian government budget deficit was 9.4% in the first half of 2020.
    • Also, unemployment is a recurring problem due to the crisis, with 405,575 employment registrations at the AMS in Austria.
  • In neighbourly news, Czechia and Slovakia are calling to implement a state of emergency due to the hike in cases in their countries.

September 29, 2020

  • Vienna is still counting the highest number of hospitalizations ever, but there is no reason for panic.
    • Viennese Health Federation assured that the city is more than equipped to handle more patients.
    • 234 patients are being treated in Viennese hospitals, 49 of which are in intensive care units. 34 patients are on ventilators and 15 are just being watched.
  • Today Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said he could imagine that Vienna’s Gastrolist (registration requirement in restaurants) will be expanded to the whole country.
  • According to the AMS, the number of unemployed has increased, and the people in Kurzarbeit (short-term employment) has decreased.
    • 405,575 people are currently unemployed, 74,000 more since last year and 2,177 more since last week.
    • 290,696 people are in Kurzarbeit, 5,790 less since last week.
  • 609 new infections were reported within Austrian in the last 24 hours.
    • With 308 cases, Vienna marks the highest increase since yesterday, followed by 92 in Upper Austria, 68 in Tyrol, 45 in Lower Austria, 33 in Styria, 23 in Burgenland, 19 in Vorarlberg, and 14 in Carinthia.
    • This brings the number of active infections to 8,590.
    • Currently, 469 people are being treated in Austrian hospitals. 88 patients are in intensive care.
    • So far, 796 people have died from or with COVID-19 in Austria, which is 6 more (+0.8%) since yesterday.
  • Salzburg reported a new corona-cluster in the Camerata Salzburg chamber orchestra after 7 members tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Starting today, people traveling to Slovenia from Vienna, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg are required to provide a negative corona test result or must enter a 10-day quarantine.
  • Hotel bars in Vorarlberg are exempt from the 10pm curfew that has been in effect since midnight.

September 28, 2020:

  • After Germany and Belgium, Slovenia has put parts of Austria on the red list. The travel restrictions take effect on Tuesday 29 September – Vienna, Tyrol and Vorarlberg are affected. For all current travel restrictions, check Austria’s official travel portal.
  • Starting today, people are required to leave their contact details when visiting restaurants, bars, and clubs in Vienna by filling out this form. Take-away restaurants are exempt from this new directive.
  • Vienna is counting the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations ever.
    • Currently, 225 patients are hospitalized in Vienna due to the Coronavirus (177 in normal beds and 48 in intensive care).
    • On March 31 – the date of the highest numbers in Vienna so far – hospitalizations had reached 213 in Vienna (161 in normal beds and 52 in intensive care).
    • Vienna Health Commissioner Peter Hacker confirmed that the system is more than equipped to handle these patients, noting that now many hospitals in Vienna would be equipped to open a COVID-19 ward if necessary.
  • As of today, 469 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 across Austria, 88 of them are in intensive care units.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, 43,436 people have been tested positive for the novel coronavirus, while 33,589 people have been declared recovered. There have been 768 deaths confirmed so far in connection with the virus.
  • Flu season has brought the question of flu shots back to the public’s attention. 35,000 appointments have so far been arranged for the vaccination and 400,000 vaccines are prepared.
    • It promises to be a weak season if we go by Australian numbers. In 2019 between January and June, 430 people died from the flu, and this year it was only 36.
    • Experts hope that the measures to flatten the curve for Coronavirus will help keep the outbreak of other viruses to a minimum.

September 27, 2020:

  • Retirees who receive a small pension will be awarded a “corona-bonus” next year.
    • Individuals who receive a pension of up to 1,000 Euro will receive 3.5% more.
    • On average, individuals will receive up 1.8% more.
  • 662 new infections have been identified in Austria within the last 24 hours.
    • With 279 cases, Vienna recorded the most new infections, followed by 109 in Lower Austria, 76 in Syria, 74 in Upper Austria, 51 in Tyrol, 27 in Salzburg, 18 in Carinthia, and 19 in Vorarlberg.
    • This brings the number of active cases to 8,500.
    • 446 people are currently being treated in Austrian hospitals. 84 patient are in intensive care.

September 26, 2020:

  • Starting Monday, individuals will be required to leave their contact details when visiting restaurants, bars, and clubs in Vienna by filling out this form. Take-away restaurants are exempt from this new order.
  • 714 new infections were reported within the last 24 hours.
    • This brings the total number of active cases to 8,273.
    • 423 people are currently being treated in Austrian hospitals, 12 more (+2.9%) since yesterday. 80 patients are in intensive care units, 2 more (+2.6%) since yesterday.
    • So far, 787 people have died with or from COVID-19 in Austria, 1 more (+0.1%) since yesterday.
  • In comparison to last week, the R number has decreased from 1.3% to 1.09%.
    • The R number is currently above 1.0% for all states.

September 25, 2020:

  • This evening’s press conference following the meeting of provincial governors and the federal government saw Chancellor Sebastian Kurz open by stating that our infection numbers are currently too high, announcing three easy-to-remember nationwide measures:
    • A 10-person limit for private gatherings
    • Gastronomy only when seated
    • Face masks in many areas
  • Individual states can set their own stricter measures to combat outbreaks – which is urgently needed in some. Kurz note that Carinthia currently has the lowest figures, but Vienna’s are nearly ten times as high, stating that he’s pleased that Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Salzburg and Lower Austria had already imposed tougher rules and hoping that Vienna will follow suit.
  • A top priority is to avoid further travel warnings, which strongly affect the economy, particularly foreign trade and tourism.
  • Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler emphasized more regional measures. He also noted that testing needs to happen faster, citing that not all states meet the goal of results within 48 hours and renewing the government’s offer of sending military and interior ministry personnel to speed up the process.
  • The chairman of the Provincial Governor’s Conference, Salzburg’s Governor Wilfried Haslauer, spoke at length of the challenges of testing, stating two goals: Avoiding triage and avoiding travel warnings, particularly from neighboring Germany. For that reason, his state has decreed earlier closing times despite comparatively low figures.
  • Minister for Health, Rudolf Anschober, stated that while Austria had done fairly well during the pandemic, infection rates spiked between Sept. 7-19. While the numbers have currently stabilized, they are still too high. Getting them back down is a priority – especially as cold weather raises the risk of infection considerably. In addition to the nationwide measures announced by the federal government, he outlined three priorities:
    • Protect vulnerable groups – particularly senior citizens
    • Testing and contact management within 48 hours
    • Additional pinpoint measures for affected regions
  • Interior minister Karl Nehammer stated that the police will assist governors with further spot checks – particularly in the problem area of Nachtgastronomie (nightlife, bars, etc.), citing zero tolerance for rule breakers. He also mentioned that all states must work together to get infection rates down.
  • Germany has declared Tyrol a high-risk area due to rapidly rising infection numbers.
  • The federal government is scheduled to meet with Austrian state governors at 17:30 today to discuss current and future measures. A press statement is expected at 19:00.
  • Switzerland has placed Lower Austria and Upper Austria on its “red list” alongside Vienna; anyone entering Switzerland from these three states must quarantine for 10 days.
  • Vienna has announced a new regulation decreeing that all healthcare facilities must have a COVID-19 spokesperson and visitors must register for contact tracing. Places of employment must also have a spokesperson, with possible fines yet to be determined.
  • Health minister Rudolf Anschober stated today that the numbers have “stabilized, but are too high;” he also remarked that the number of new infections are “too high at this time, but aren’t increasing as rapidly as they did on Sep 17-18,” pointing out that stricter measures will be reflected in the numbers by early October. In addition, he encouraged the use of the Stopp Corona app developed by the Red Cross.
  • Following the infection of Salzburg’s deputy governor and health spokesman Christian Stöckl, two members of the provincial parliament – Josef Schwaiger and Andrea Klambauer – have been placed in quarantine for ten days.
  • The government has requested that volunteer organizations (like sport clubs, brass bands or volunteer fire brigades) take special care when meeting, emphasizing that non-essential gatherings pose a significant risk.
  • Germany clarified that its travel restrictions for Vienna and Vorarlberg will not affect commuters, freight transport and border crossings for family reasons such as caring for an elderly relative, visiting your life partner or children and the like. Travelers entering Germany via Schwechat airport are also exempted as long as they haven’t been in Vienna or Vorarlberg in the last 14 days. Health checks are currently not planned for the German-Austrian border. German nationals returning home may take a free COVID-19 test.
  • Today on World Children’s Day, Salzburg’s Child and Youth Services have criticized the government’s response to the coronavirus, citing that the focus on keeping numbers down neglects the mental well-being of minors.
  • The state of Lower Austria has decreed stricter measures for orange districts: sporting events must take place without spectators, other events have a 250-person limit for indoors and 1,000 for outdoors. Restaurants and eateries must track their guests via contact tracing lists.
  • This morning, the Austrian minister for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism Elisabeth Köstinger announced a €300 million relief fund for the event industry during an interview on the Ö1 Morgenjournal, with the federal government reimbursing non-refundable expenses like rent and personnel costs.
  • Yesterday, the Sigmund Freud University released the first study on the mental health consequences of the pandemic in Austria: Based on a survey of 1,000 people conducted by Gallup in May, about 20% stated that the crisis has affected them mentally, with parents, urban areas and low-income households over-represented. 40% were worried about the future and 27% expressed a general sense of anxiety. 14% admitted to increased alcohol consumption and about a third stated they were smoking more. Women in particular feel overwhelmed, with 39% saying they were more irritable. The additional stress has little correlation with financial difficulties, with only 13% giving economic concerns as a reason – a number that’s likely to rise as the pandemic continues.
  • The COVID-19 traffic light remains orange for Vienna. The Lower Austrian districts of Gmünd, Melk and Waidhofen an der Thaya are skipping yellow and going from green straight to orange. In addition, the cities of Krems and Wiener Neustadt as well as the districts of Gänserndorf, Korneuburg, Krems Land, Landeck and Schwaz are orange.
  • 684 new cases were recorded today, bringing the number of active cases to 8,372 – the same as yesterday. 309 of them were recorded in Vienna and 136 in Lower Austria. 411 cases are currently hospitalized, with 78 of those in the ICU.
  • The book fair Buch Wien has been cancelled.
  • The number of infections following a Turkish wedding in Schrems has risen from 27 to 38

September 24, 2020:

  • Today, the city of Vienna announced that it will require guests at restaurants and bars to submit their contact information starting Monday.
  • The new testing street in Flordisdorf opened today.
  • The traffic light for 10 more districts has been set to orange. Vienna remains orange too.
  • Starting October 15, all people traveling from Vienna and Vorarlberg to Germany must register themselves digitally on a new online platform created by the German government.
    • Upon registration, individuals receive a confirmation that they must show to the German authorities.
    • Passengers will be fined if they fail to register.
  • Due to a rapid increase in cases, Austria released new travel warnings for Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Kuwait, Israel, the Maldives, Paris, Prague, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur und Île-de-France in France. These will go into effect on Monday.
    • Currently, the Austrian Foreign Minister has announced travel warnings for 37 countries.
  • At the same time, the foreign minister lifted travel warnings for Sweden and certain regions of Portugal.
    • Starting Monday, the travel warning for Portugal will only apply to Lisbon and Norte.
  • In a press conference today, the federal government presented the restrictions for the upcoming winter season. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s motto is: “Ski fun yes, but no to après-ski.”
    • Both indoors and outdoors, food and drinks can only be consumed when seated.
    • Masks are required within cable cars.
    • Ski groups will be restricted to ten people.
    • Christkindlmärkte (Christmas markets) will open.
    • Testing protocols will be increased in the tourism sector. Tests will also be available to tour guides and ski teachers.
  • 832 new corona cases were reported within Austria in the last 24 hours, of which 431 were in Vienna, 181 in Lower Austria, 67 in Upper Austria, 58 in Tyrol, 32 in Vorarlberg, 32 in Styria, 16 in Carinthia, and 4 in Burgenland.
    • This brings the number of active cases to 8,372.
    • 422 patients are currently being treated in Austrian hospital, 9 more (2.2%) since yesterday. 78 people are being treated in intensive care units, 1 more person (+1.3%) since yesterday.
    • So far, 777 people have died from or with COVID-19 in Austria, 6 more (+0.8%) since yesterday.
  • Viennese tourism is suffering
  • Starting today, the city of Vienna will test a “cluster-buster-bus” at a Viennese school. The results will be available within one hour.
    • For schools where students may have been exposed to the coronavirus, the city is planning to equip school buses with a corona test machines.
    • Students will be tested directly on the bus. The machine can read 48 test tubes in one hour.
    • If the test succeeds, the city will implement this testing scheme.
  • 3 new cases were identified among employees of the UN organizations in the Vienna International Center.
    • In total, 52 employees tested positive for the coronavirus. 41 have since recovered.
  • 100 students are required to self-isolate after a student and teacher tested positive for the coronavirus at a school in Lower Austria.
    • Despite not having tested all the teachers, the school has ordered the students to return to the classrooms as early as next week.

September 23, 2020:

  • Germany declared Vorarlberg a high-risk area. Travelers from the region are now required to provide a negative corona test result that isn’t older than 48 hours or self-isolate for 14 days.
  • In addition to the testing station near the Ernst-Happel-Stadion, the city is constructing a new testing street on the Donauinsel in Floridsdorf for Viennese residents. The center will open tomorrow and offer free gurgle corona tests as well as anti-body tests.
    • Test are free for individuals who think they have been in contact with someone that is infected with coronavirus.
    • People with systems are now allowed to drive to the testing station after notifying the corona hotline 1450.
    • Residents with minor or unclear symptoms must arrive by car. All others are free to walk.
  • Today Belgium added Tyrol and Vorarlberg to its red list. Starting at 6pm on Friday, Belgians can no longer travel to these states, and individuals traveling from the two regions are required to self-isolate upon arriving in Belgium
    • Belgium put Vienna on its red list last week. This leaves Carinthia as the only state without a travel warning.
  • After the Lufthansa, the Austrian Airlines (AUA) announced that it is also planning to offer free and quick corona tests to its passengers.
    • The AUA is currently negotiating with the federal government to cover the testing costs.
    • Additionally, the airline is considering building testing centers at American and Canadian airports, which belong to our most important market.
      • For American and possibly also European flights, the AUA could establish specific zones restricted to tested patients.
    • First and business class passengers will be given testing priority.
    • The International Airport Association (IATA) is advocating for pre-flight quick tests that could replace quarantine regulations at travel destinations.
  • 681 new corona infections were reported within Austria in the past 24 hours.
    • This brings the active number of cases to 8,258, 38 more than the previous day.
    • 413 patients are hospitalized, amongst which 77 are in intensive care.
  • Today, the National Assembly will determine new regulations and define the legal basis for the event of a necessary curfew.
  • The Vienna Opera Ball 2021 has officially been cancelled. Today the federal government said it would be “irresponsible” to host such a large event under the current circumstances.

As of the 21st of September the following measures are required, according to the Federal Ministry of the Republic of Austria for Social Affairs, Health, and Care and Consumer Protection

Restaurants:

  • Face masks are mandatory for the staff and clients and can only be removed by clients when seated at a table.
  • Maximum 10 people per table.
  • Drinking indoors is allowed when seated.

Events:

  • Without assigned seat
    • indoors: 10 persons
    • outdoors: 100 persons
  • With assigned seat
    • indoors: 1,500 persons
    • outdoors: 3,000 persons
  • Events with official authorization may have other limits on numbers of attendees.
  • Exceptions: burials, demonstrations, and religious events.

General closing hour for events and restaurants is 1am

Face mask requirements in other areas:

  • Transportation
    • public transportation and taxis.
    • busses, airplanes, cable- and streetcars and inside of excursion boats.
  • Public and trade fairs
    • employees and visitors (indoors and outdoors).
  • Healthcare
    • visitors to nursing homes, hospitals and health spas.
  • Demonstrations
    • all participants if one-mete distancing is not possible.
  • Schools
    • outside of your own classroom.
  • Tourist accommodations
    • indoors: in general areas fur customers and employees when there’s contact with customers.
  • Business & commerce:
    • customer service without 1 meter distancing (alternative: appropriate protective measures).
    • indoors: for customers or visitors in all customer sections from business premises (trades, services, spaces with opening hours, museums, exhibitions, libraries), and for persons with contact to clients and customers without protective device.
  • Markets (indoors & outdoors)

September 22, 2020:

  • 645 new corona infections were reported in Austria within the past 24 hours.
    • This brings the number of active cases to 8,220, 155 less than yesterday.
    • 390 patients are currently being treated in Austrian hospitals, which is 26 (+7.1%) more than yesterday. 75 of which are in intensive care units, 8 more (+11.9%) than yesterday.
    • So far, 771 people have died from or with COVID-19 in Austria, 4 more (+0.5%) than yesterday.
  • Due to a rapid increase in cases in Tyrol, Salzburg, and Voralberg, the states will require restaurants and bars to close at 10pm.
    • This new restriction will go into effect on Friday and will be valid for three weeks.
  • Today the Netherlands announced a travel warning for Vienna and Innsbruck.
    • Travelers returning from Vienna and Innsbruck are required to self-isolate for ten days.
  • In a press conference today, Education Minister Heinz Faßmann, the city’s Health Minister Peter Hacker, and virologist Monika Redlberger-Fritz presented the new gurgle testing concept for schools.
    • Four mobile teams will administer the gurgle tests.
      • Four more teams can be arranged if need be.
    • The results will be made available in less than 24 hours.
  • On Wednesday, the federal government is planning on passing a new bill that will require family doctors to conduct corona tests.
  • In Vienna, school teachers are considered to be essential workers. Thus, even if they come in contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus, they can go to work.
  • The Viennese pediatrician Peter Voitl is pressing the government to create a corona hotline for kids.
  • Parents and students in Lower Austria are complaining that school buses are overfilled, making it impossible to keep the minimum safety distance. The state is checking whether extra buses are available.

September 21, 2020:

  • With election day approaching fast in Vienna, safety measures are being put in place for voting in the Vienna election on October 11, 2020.
    • Exactly 1,133,010 people will be eligible to vote on a municipal level. On a district level that number reaches 1,362,789.
    • Voters can visit one of 1,494 voting stations between 7:00 and 15:00 on October 11.
    • Facemasks must be worn inside the voting stations and voters are requested to bring their own pen with them to fill out the ballot.
    • Postal ballots (also called absentee ballots, Wahlkarte) can already be mailed in or submitted. Voters who have not received one in the mail can also pick it up at the Magistrate for your district.
  • Today Cyprus declared Austria as a high-risk area. Starting Thursday, travelers coming from Austria are no longer allowed to enter the country without a good reason.
  • The fears of a stark rise in domestic violence due to coronavirus lockdown have been slightly subdued after the research institute OGM released the results from its recent survey on the topic.
    • 30% of the surveyed people stated they felt an increase in domestic tension and most respondents noted no difference.
    • However, 56% of respondents said they suspect a rise in domestic violence due to lockdown, despite having not experienced it themselves.
  • The City of Vienna is recruiting 500 contact tracers who will be employed for €1,800 gross per month.
    • This has come as a response to the long wait times on the 1450 hotline, testers taking days to visit potentially infected people, and long waits for test results.
    • Mayor Michael Ludwig has announced he will commit 1000 new positions to these efforts, 500 of which do contact tracing
    • The job is full time, pays a gross salary of €1,831 and entails dealing with cases over the phone and collecting data relevant for COVID-19 contact tracing. It requires good spelling and grammar in German but other languages are specifically desired.
  • 8,375 people in Austria are currently infected with the coronavirus, 563 more than yesterday.
    • At 181 new cases in the last 24 hours, for the first time, Lower Austria has reported more new infections than Vienna (172), followed by Upper Austria (66), Vorarlberg (42), Tyrol (33), Carinithia (15), Salzburg (14), Styria (32), and Burgenland (8).
    • The number of patients being hospitalized has risen to 364, with 67 in intensive care units
    • So far, a total of 767 people have died with or from COVID-19 within Austria, 1 more (+0.1%) than yesterday.

September 20, 2020:

  • On four days this week, Vienna’s police force conducted special controls at 26 bars and clubs in the city.
    • The police found dozens of violations of corona restrictions.
    • Too many people were present at four locations. One location hosted 100 more people than allowed. Three clubs were evicted.
    • According to the police, some party guests behaved “unreasonably and aggressive.”
  • The Danube University Krems in Lower Austria has acquired an automated machine that can read corona test samples. The local government projects that it will be able to double its testing capacity.
  • As of midnight, new and stricter coronavirus rules will go into effect in Austria.
    • Indoor events without designated seating are now restricted to 10 people.
      • This applies to weddings, conventions, professional job trainings, small cultural events like film screenings, art exhibits, and sporting events, such as yoga or Zumba classes.
      • Only funerals are exempt from this new rule.
    • Outdoor events without designated seating are now limited to 100 people.
    • Professionally organized events that have a safety concept are restricted to 1,500 individuals inside and 3,000 people outside.
    • Masks have to be worn by both customers and employees at sport facilities, including gyms, and can only be removed when exercising.
    • Team sports are exempt from the ten-person-limit, but are limited to the minimum number of players needed for the sport.
    • Construction workers and artists, such as actors and musicians, are also exempt from the ten-person-limit.
  • 8,253 people in Austria are currently infected with the coronavirus, 640 more than yesterday (+4.7%). Fewer patients are being treated in intensive care units.
    • With 319, new cases, the most new infections were reported in Vienna, followed by Lower Austria (94), Tyrol (62), Upper Austria (49), Vorarlberg (38), Salzburg (21), Carinithia (17), and Styria (13).
    • 341 patients are being treated at Austrian hospitals, a decrease of 8 patients (-2.3%) since yesterday. 68 patients are being treated in intensive care units, which is 16 less (-19%) than yesterday.
    • So far, a total of 766 people have died with or from COVID-19 within Austria, 1 more (+0.1%) than yesterday.
  • In an interview with the newspaper “Österreich” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that he wanted to tighten restrictions earlier, but it wasn’t his decision alone.
    • He also criticized the lack of implementation of the corona measures in Vienna: “I have the impression that some underestimated the situation and did not implement the necessary measures in time,” said Kurz. “I hope that the situation in Vienna doesn’t get out of hand.”
  • Today Hungary reported over 1,000 new corona cases for the first time ever. The number of people infected with COVID-19 has been increasingly dramatically since August.

September 19, 2020:

  • Austria is not the only country experiencing a rise in new cases. Some of our neighboring countries, including Czechia, Germany, and Slovakia, have also recorded the highest number of new infections in months. Here is a graphical representation of how Austria’s daily case count compares to that of other countries:
  • The renowned mathematician and simulation expert from the Technical University Vienna Niki Popper, who is also part of the federal corona task force, expects that the number of new infections will continue to rise. To contain the spread of the virus, he urges the government to speed up testing and contact tracing.
  • The Klinik Favoriten hospital has reached capacity for COVID-19 patients. It is no longer accepting intensive care or normal corona patients.
    • This is the first hospital in Vienna to hit maximum capacity.
  • Health Minister Rudolf Anschober criticized many states for long queues and waiting times at testing stations. Although many states have increased staff, including testing stations in Vienna, Anschober demanded that the city must “spend massive amounts of money” to quicken the testing process.
  • Experts warned that mandatory self-isolation does not mean that individuals are automatically granted sick leave. Employers can still require individuals to work from home.
  • Since yesterday, 813 new corona infections have been identified within Austria. With 432 cases, Vienna reported the most new cases and is nearly at its all-time-high of 444 new cases. Hospitals reported an increase of patients in intensive care units.
    • This brings the number of active infections to 7,882, of which 4,136 are in Vienna.
    • 349 patients are currently being treated at Austrian hospitals, which is an increase of +15 (+4.5%) since yesterday.
    • The number of patients being treated in intensive care rose by +22 (+35.5%), to a total of 84.
    • Since the beginning of the pandemic, 765 people have died with or from COVID-19, 2 more (+0.3%) since yesterday.
  • Although the federal mask requirement at markets only goes into effect on Monday, Vienna already implemented the measure today.
    • This measure applies to all markets that are administered by Vienna’s market office, as well as the flea market at the Naschmarkt.
    • Posters and individuals with megaphones will remind shoppers to wear masks.
    • Anyone who violates the measure could pay a fine of up to 50 Euros.
  • Today Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said it is “realistic” that a coronavirus vaccine will be authorized and available by summer 2021.
  • Styrian dance schools have been hard-hit by the pandemic. One week after reopening, schools report almost no registrations. To attract students, the state has presented a new safety concept and introduced individual dance courses.
    • The new concept includes dancing with social distance, less dancers, line-dancing, more rooms, increased airing of rooms, and individual dance courses that don’t require a partner.

September 18, 2020:

  • The city called off this year’s ball season. At a special meeting today, Vienna’s ball committee decided to cancel the upcoming Ärzteball (Medical Doctor’s Ball), Juristenball, (Lawyer’s Ball), the Concordia Ball, and der Ball der Pharmacie (Ball of Pharmacy).
    • The ball season is important for the city’s economy. Last year, 520,000 guests attended Vienna’s balls, bringing in 151 million Euros for the city.
  • Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) announced that the city will add a new lane to the testing station near the Ernst Happel Stadium next week. This will facilitate the testing process for people who call the corona hotline (1450).
  • The city will also employ unemployed individuals over the age of 50 as corona helpers. These will be trained to administer gurgle tests at Viennese schools. The city is planning to expand this testing scheme to kindergartens.
  • 807 new corona infections were reported within Austria in the last 24 hours.
    • This brings the total number of active infections to 7,477, an increase of +396 cases (+5.6%) since yesterday.
    • The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 increased further by +15 cases (+4.7%) to a total of 334.
    • The number of patients in intensive care rose by +7 cases (12.7%) to 62.
    • Since the beginning of the pandemic, 763 people have died in Austria from or with COVID-19. Over the weekend, 5 more cases of death were reported.
  • The current R number in Austria is 1.3, as calculated by the Agency for Health and Nutrition Security (AGES).
    • This is an increase from last week, when the R number was 1.02, and the week before, it was 1.35.
    • Each federal state within the country currently has an R number over 1.0.
      • Carinthia and Vorarlberg both have an R number of 1.5, currently higher than Vienna, which however has by far the most cases.
  • AGES estimates that the number of new infections will increase by a rate of 8% daily.
    • In the last few weeks, the number of new cases has been increasing by a rate of 6.5%. This is considerably higher than in the first week of September, when the number of new infections was only increasing at a rate of 1.7% daily.
  • In a press briefing, the education ministry revealed that a total of 455 corona infections were identified at Austrian schools in the first two weeks of the school semester.
    • 372 students, 58 faculty members, and 25 administrative staff have tested positive for the coronavirus.
    • There have additionally been 3,600 suspected cases.
  • Due to the rapid increase in new cases, Lower Austrian hospitals are building three new stations for corona patients.
  • At a press conference today, Labour Minister Christine Aschenbacher (ÖVP) announced that she will present a legislative framework for the home office at the earliest in March 2021.
  • After a member of her cabinet tested positive for the coronavirus, Constitution and EU Minister Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP) also tested positive yesterday afternoon. She is currently self-isolating and tested negative for the virus this morning.
  • The foreign ministry is monitoring the situation in neighboring Czechia, which reported an all-time-high of over 3,000 new corona infections yesterday.

September 17, 2020:

  • At a press conference, the government has announced new stricter measures to contain the coronavirus starting on Monday, at midnight (00:00).
    • Private meeting indoors will be limited to 10 participants.
    • The only exception to this rule will be funerals, which families can organize the way they deem appropriate. All other private gatherings – including weddings – will be limited to 10 participants indoors.
    • In restaurants, a maximum of 10 people can sit on one table. Masks have to be worn everywhere when not sitting.
    • Consuming drinks and food is only allowed when seated.
    • On markets and trade fairs, masks also have to be worn outside.
    • For bigger cultural events or outdoors with an approved hygiene concept, a higher number of attendants is still permitted.
  • Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) spoke of “exponentially rising” coronavirus numbers that have to be reined in now to “hopefully” prevent a second lockdown.
    • Kurz emphasized that “we know now that new infections happen indoors” and mainly in private rounds, “where people feel safe and comfortable.” That is why the government is now taking this new and stricter measures.
    • Kurz also announced that the reduced valued-added tax (VAT) rates for the hospitality and cultural sector will be prolonged all throughout 2021.
    • Kurz appealed to all Austrian to once again take the hygiene measures very seriously and reduce social gatherings to the aforementioned 10 people.
    • Legally, the 10 people limit cannot be applied to private apartments, but Kurz said the government urgently advices keeping it.
    • Kurz also noted that big dance event, such as balls, do not seem “realistic” to get the go-ahead this ball season.
    • Particularly affected region can take stricter measures than are in force on the federal level, Kurz said.
  • Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) asked everyone living in Austria to help bringing the number of new infections down again.
    • Kogler underlined that most new infections happen in private gatherings and also specifically pointed to what he called “après football” parties to which several new cases could be traced back to.
    • Kogler also called for more individual responsibility and discipline again, connecting the health crisis with the economic crisis and quipping: “From the brainlessness of a few it is a not so big step to unemployment of many.”
  • Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) pointed to rising hospitalization rates and the places of recent coronavirus infections.
    • Anschober listed several venues and situations where new infections have happened in last week and said the new measures and the appeal to again social distance are meant to bring these numbers down again.
    • Anschober showed himself worried about the recently rising numbers and quoted three different simulations going from here: a linear one and two exponential ones. Measures now decide which one Austria will follow.
    • The health minister also said that the average age of positively tested people was 58-59 years in spring and is 38-39 years now, pointing to a different profile of the infected population. Still, infection chains are also again reaching older people.
  • Minister of Interieur Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) emphasized that 7,000 new infections have been recorded just in September.
    • Nehammer asked everyone to keep following new measures and announced that the police will also control the new measures again more strictly.
    • The curfew in night bars will again be controlled more strictly, with penalties of up to €1,450 for violations.
  • The Austrian government has announced an impromptu press conference on the “current situation” today from 14:00-14:45.
    • The press conference will be attended by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens), Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) and Minister of the Interieur Karl Nehammer (ÖVP).
    • Austria’s public broadcaster ORF will subsequently host a special broadcast on the new developments.
  • The Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Wien) has instituted a fast-track CoV test system for its students.
    • Up to 3,000 freshmen students will attend classes at the Austria Center Vienna and can be tested.
    • A 15-minutes coronavirus fast test will ensure that all students attending will have a negative SARS-CoV-2 status.
    • One the first day, 3 out of 3,000 students tested positive for the virus.
    • The tests are paid for by the university and cost between €15-22 apiece.
    • Norbert Kettner, director of the association Wien Tourism hopes that the pilot project will open new perspectives for the hospitality and event sectors.
    • “In the medium term, functioning fast tests can be part of the solution, contributing to a new start for the events industry. For 2021, at least twelve major congresses are already planned in Vienna, ten of them starting in June,” Kettner was quoted.
  • From 11:00 yesterday to 11:00 today, 876 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Austria.
    • The number of active cases rose by +391 (+5.9%) to a total of 7,051.
    • The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 fell slightly by -2 to 319, after brisk increases in recent days.
    • Of those, 55 patients are being treated in an intensive care unit, an increase of +1 (+1.9%) since yesterday.
    • Since the beginning of the pandemic, 758 people in Austria passed away from or with COVID-19.
  • Travelers coming from Vienna transiting trough Germany at the so-called Großes Deutsches Eck (Big German Corner) and Kleines Deutsches Eck (Small German Corner) – i.e. the roads between Salzburg and Tyrol that go through Bavarian territory – do not have to show a negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.
    • As this traffic is considered “border transit” by Germany, the new rules for travelers from coronavirus risk areas, to which Vienna was added yesterday, do not apply.
  • Meanwhile, neighboring Czechia reported more than 2,000 new infections in a day, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.
    • The country is currently battling one of the fastest surges in Europe.
    • Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (ANO) announced several stricter measures, for example banning indoor meetings where more than 10 people stand and expanding mandatory mask-wearing in public.
  • Belgium added Vienna to its red list of coronavirus risk areas.

September 16, 2020:

  • This afternoon, Germany put Vienna on its red list of coronavirus destinations.
    • Travelers coming from Vienna to Germany have to either show a negative coronavirus test result no older than 48 hours or enter quarantine for a period of 14 days.
    • “Since September 5, there have been significantly more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, so we are forced to take action,” German governmental sources are quoted in the article.
    • Currently, there are 113 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in Vienna in a span of seven days.
  • Vienna’s Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) does not see the impending decision as “something special. It is a development that affects all of Europe, especially urban areas. This already applies to other major European cities such as Brussels, Paris, Prague, Geneva – wherever there are naturally large gatherings of people,” Ludwig was quoted.
  • On the other hand, the Austrian Economic Chamber (WKÖ) is highly concerned about the travel warning’s impact on the city’s hotel businesses.
    • “There is a hail of cancellations and no bookings for the rest of the fall,” said Susanne Kraus-Winkler, Chair of the Austrian Hotel Industry Association. She claimed the new travel warning is “bad news for Vienna’s tourism industry.
    • According to Wien Tourismus, with a total of 155,000 overnight stays during July, Germans guests made up the largest portion of the city’s tourists.
  • Switzerland also added Vienna to its own red list of coronavirus risk areas last Friday, while at the same time Germany added the Swiss city of Geneva to its red list.
  • The City of Vienna announced that they will hire an additional 1,000 people for the coronavirus hotline as well as test & trace activities to contain the virus.
    • 500 people will be directly assigned to contact tracing. Several hundred more will work for the coronavirus hotline 1450, the Viennese ambulance services or city health authorities.
    • The number of daily calls to the hotline has increased from 1,222 on August 8 to 17,978 this Tuesday, September 15, reflecting the new challenge.
  • 5 new corona cases were reported at the United Nations’ headquarters in Vienna, 3 of which were detected at the IAEA, 1 at the UNODC, and 1 at the UNIDO.
    • This brings the total number of infections at the Vienna International Center to 43, of which 36 have already recovered.
  • Doctor Arschang Valipour, pulmologist and head of a COVID station at the Klinik Floridsdorf in Vienna, sees the city and country “well-prepared” for a new wave in the fall and winter.
    • In an interview with Austrian daily Der Standard, Valipour confirmed that the currently rising numbers of hospitalizations had been expected and will probably also continue over the next weeks.
    • At the same time, Valipour pointed to the markedly different profile of infected people compared to spring and also underlined advances in medical knowledge in how to treat the disease – for example, treating patients with COVID-19 early with cortisone can significantly reduce the share of patients needing intensive care.
    • Valipour also emphasized that “our health care system is well-prepared for the fall” and that he is confident the system “will manage” if people keep following health and hygiene guidelines.
  • More than 750 new coronavirus cases were reported in Austria between 23:00 yesterday and the day before.
    • While daily numbers of new infections are elevated, they currently seem to be plateauing at this higher level.
    • Hospitalization rates and the number of people in intensive care (321 and 55 respectively) increased recently.
    • At the same time, the Austrian health care system has still ample capacity to treat more people – only 6% of all intensive care beds in Austria are currently used by patients with COVID-19.
  • Simulation expert Nikolas Popper from Vienna’s Technical University warned of a “second wave” of coronavirus cases if the test & trace capacity will not be significantly expanded.
    • Popper said Austria was on the right track in summer but infection numbers in recent weeks show that the situation is getting more serious now.
    • Testing & tracing is the tool to contain the virus even with rising numbers, but Popper said it is not happening fast and efficient enough yet.
    • He also recommended mask-wearing and a limitation of public gatherings, particularly indoors, to slow down the spread of the virus.
  • Several recent coronavirus clusters in Austria have been traced to parties in Vienna and several other federal states such as Salzburg, Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Tyrol.
    • New rules and stricter regulations for clubs, bars and the nightlife are now expected.
  • The new CoV-Ampel will not switch lights every week anymore to avoid confusion.
    • The corona traffic light warning system had been introduced two weeks ago by the Austrian government and is supposed to provide guidance on a regional level.
    • Due to rapidly rising infection numbers, the government has taken measures that apply across the entire country, rendering the regional warning system moot to some degree.
    • Nevertheless, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) underlined that the warning system will be an additional too in containing the virus in the coming weeks and months.
  • The southern hemisphere has reported an exceptionally mild flu season.
    • In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, fewer influenza cases than in any year since 1984 were reported in their winter season.
    • Experts point to hygiene measures, the distance rule, mask-wearing and generally higher attention to health and infection risk as the reason.
    • Health experts in the northern hemisphere now wait whether our winter season will bring similar results.
    • The City of Vienna wants to increase flu vaccination rates from 8% to 24% with a free flu shot vaccination campaign.
    • Fighting influenza is also particularly important because recent studies point to the possibility that the flu worsens COVID-19 and vice versa – but also that the flu shot can provide a degree of protection from the coronavirus.

September 15, 2020:

  • The Austrian government has established a “strategic reserve” of masks and protective gear as a reaction to the scramble for equipment at the beginning of the pandemic.
    • In cooperation with the Red Cross, the government purchased 2.6 million respiratory masks, 44.4 million surgical masks, 1.7 million examination gloves, 430,000 protective overalls, 37,000 protective goggles, 150,000 disposable aprons and 19,500 pulse oximeters with finger clips.
    • In addition, 9,000 oxygen masks, 50,000 CoV test kits and 991,000 CoV rapid tests were stored in five facilities of the Austrian Bundesheer (Federal Army).
    • Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (both ÖVP) presented the strategic reserve today, declaring: “We have all learned from the challenges of the Corona crisis and are preparing for further challenges.”
    • The strategic reserve of protective equipment can be handed out on directives of the Austrian Health Ministry and is administered by the Federal Army.
  • Since yesterday, 780 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Austria.
    • The number of active cases rose by +420 (+7.2%) to a total of 6,194.
    • 293 people with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized, an increase of +38 (+14.9%) since yesterday. Of those, 49 are in intensive care, +2 (+4.3%) more than before
  • The advisory board of the official Cov-Ampel met on Monday in an extraordinary meeting due to rising coronavirus infection numbers across the country.
    • Several media report concurrently that large parts of Austria will switch to yellow from currently green.
    • Numerous cities will switch to orange, the second-highest warning color. This applies to: Vienna, Innsbruck, Kufstein, Mödling, Neunkirchen, Bludenz and Dornbirn.
    • Many other regions in Upper Austria, Tyrol and Vorarlberg are blinking yellow.
    • The implications of these color switches are still unclear as of now, as the government tightened measures for the entire country just last week.
  • As of today, Vienna residents can register for a free flu shot provided by the city’s health authorities.
    • Either by clicking on “Impftermin buchen” on impfservice.wien (if you don’t yet have an account, creating one is mandatory) or by calling the hotline 01/4000-8015.
    • After registering for a time slot, make sure to bring the confirmation of your appointment, your e-card and a photo ID.
    • Vaccinations will take place all throughout winter, from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 and ought to take no longer than 15 minutes per shot, including waiting times.
    • The flu shots will be administered in 7 vaccination centers of the city, including the “vaccination tramway,” as well as 4 vaccinations centers of the Österreichische Gesundheitskasse (Austrian General Health Insurance) and in the sanatorium Hera.
  • A CoV cluster was detected at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
    • Music students taking part in the stage production of “The Merry Widow” at the Theater in der Gumpendorfer Straße (TAG) were tested positive for the virus.
    • Several members of the State Opera’s orchestra were also part of the production, necessitating a small staff reshuffle.
    • All further public events and performances of the University of Music were canceled as a reaction. Several performances of the State Opera were also affected.
    • Currently, 24 cases in total can be traced back to this emerging cluster.
  • The pandemic has boosted property prices in Austria considerably, as a new report of the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) shows.
    • In Vienna, prices rose by 4.1% in the second quarter compared to one year ago, after a year-on-year increase of 3.9% in the first quarter.
    • In the rest of Austria, the increase was even more pronounced, with average prices of real estate rising 6.8% in the second quarter compared to a year before, after a y-on-y increase of 2.8% in the first quarter.
    • Single-family homes led the surge with price increases of 10.6% across Austria and 11.7% in Vienna in the second quarter.
    • As for the reasons behind this rise, the Austrian National Bank noted that “possibly this is due to the increased desire for living in the countryside or with a garden, as a result of the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic (trend towards home office, experiences in lockdown, social distancing).”
    • Meanwhile, the cost of mortgages continues to fall, with effective annual interest rates on real estate loans standing at 1.77% in June 2020, a full 33 basic points (i.e. 0.33%) lower than a year ago.

September 14, 2020:

  • In the first week of school, 70 cases of coronavirus have been reported at Viennese schools.
    • 55 students, 6 teachers and 9 administrative staff tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
    • Most were individual cases, which points to infection chains within families and in private settings, not at schools.
    • As a part of Austria’s strategy, randomized schools are picked for coronavirus testing in regular intervals, conducted with the easy and fast gargling test developed in the city.
  • The City of Vienna has presented its massively ramped up free flu vaccination program for the coming fall and winter.
    • City authorities are aiming for 3,000 vaccinations against influenza every day, the free vaccination campaign will run from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
    • “We plan to set up seven vaccination centers and 34 vaccination corridors,” said Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) at a press conference on Monday.
    • The campaign is supposed to increase flu vaccination rates in the city from 8 to 24%. Health authorities have purchased 400,000 doses of vaccination.
    • Every year, between 5-10% of the population and about 20% of children have the flu or flu-like symptoms. In times of the coronavirus, containing the flu and its effects is more important to keep people healthy and health systems’ capabilities intact.
    • Everyone who wants to to get a vaccination shot can book an appointment online under impfservice.wien (partly available also in English and Turkish) or call the health and coronavirus hotline 1450. Registrations start tomorrow, on September 15.
    • It takes no more than 15 minutes to get a flu shot.
    • Finally, a “vaccination tramway” will also offer mobile services in October and November, at locations at Karlsplatz, Schwedenplatz, Belvedere, Kennedybrücke, Westbahnhof and Schottenring.
  • Since yesterday, +569 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Austria.
    • The number of active cases rose by +131 (+2.3%) to a total of 5,774.
    • 255 patients with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized, an increase of +28 (+12.8%) to the last data point; 47 of those are being treated in an intensive care unit, an increase of +3 (+6.8%) since yesterday.
    • The number of deaths due to the virus in Austria rose to by one to 757.
  • As of midnight, new and stricter coronavirus rules are once again in force in Austria.
    • Masks are now again mandatory indoors in the public space. This applies to stores, shops, official administrative offices, supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals as well as all service-related venues (e.g. hairdressers, beauty salons, etc.).
    • In bars and restaurants, masks have to be worn when walking inside the venue, but not when entering and leaving the place. Service personnel has to wear masks all the time.
    • Visiting cultural events like the opera or the theater is still possible without a mask when sitting on designated place with enough distance to others. When entering, walking through or leaving the venue, masks are mandatory.
    • Public events without designated seating are now restricted to 50 people inside and 100 people outside. For larger events, even with designated seating, a special authorization from local health authorities is needed.
    • Austria’s Cov-Ampel advisory board rescheduled its next meeting from coming Thursday to today, Monday. New adjustments seem likely.
  • The City of Vienna has committed to act on the long waiting times when calling the coronavirus hotline 1450.
    • Waiting times for test results stretched up to 7 days, said people who called the hotline. While doctors quickly came to take a swab, the laboratory results took up to a week to be delivered.
    • Other critics maintained that a coronavirus test was not done despite calling several times and sharing details about symptoms.
    • Another criticism regards contact tracing, which one affected Viennese said was done all by himself after receiving his positive result.
    • The City of Vienna now reacts to this criticism by hiring and training more staff for the hotline. Furthermore, testing is scheduled to be switched to the faster, easier and cheaper “gargling tests” developed in Vienna, which are already applied for rolling testing in randomized schools and at universities.
  • In several Austrian federal states, the trend of newly reported coronavirus cases points steeply upwards at the moment.
    • Vienna has recorded the most new cases last week, but the relative increases were highes in Tyrol and Vorarlberg.
    • Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Burgenland also saw a marked acceleration in new cases.
    • In Salzburg, Styria and Carinthia, the situation is still relatively calm, but the curve also points upwards and testing rates have been relatively low in recent weeks.
    • At the same time, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 both in absolute numbers and compared to active cases is significantly lower than it was in spring (see second graphic below for hospitalizations in blue, patients in intensive care in red).

September 13, 2020:

  • Mario Dujakovic, spokesman of Vienna’s City Councilor for Health, Peter Hacker (SPÖ), provided his own take on the recently rising coronavirus numbers.
    • Dujaković pointed out that while Vienna still has the highest number and share of newly detected coronavirus infections (e.g. +444 cases on Saturday), the relative increase and trend points to other emerging hotspots.
    • While Vienna has been testing on a massive scale all throughout summer, many other federal states have reduced testing and are now only ramping it up again.
    • As a result, the “positivity rate” – i.e. the share of coronavirus tests that came back with a positive result – widely diverges between the federal states, with Vienna having the lowest, i.e. best rate at the moment (see first tweet below for the different positivity rates of Austria’s federal states).
    • He also pointed out that the total number of daily tests massively differs, with Vienna testing more than almost all others combined (see second tweet below).
  • The government wants to emphasize teleworking more again going into the fall.
    • Austria’s so-called “social partners” (Sozialpartner) – i.e. representatives of companies, employees and state institutions – will work on new concepts to promote teleworking and make office work safer wherever possible.
  • A care home for the elderly in the Styrian capital of Graz has reported 37 recent coronavirus cases, 7 people had to be hospitalized with COVID-19 so far.
    • Care homes and nursing homes have been epicenters of the most severe repercussions of the pandemic in countries like Italy, Spain and the UK in the spring.
    • While the total number of deaths could be kept relatively low, a disproportionate number also came here from care homes – partly this is due to nursing homes’ inhabitants’ very advanced age and often poor health, but missing hygiene concepts and protection were also identified as culprit for a fast spread of the virus.
    • New cases of SARS-CoV-2 had been concentrated among a younger demographic during the summer month, but epidemiologists recently pointed out that infection chains now started to reach again more elderly – and thus more vulnerable – members of society.
    • Doctors call on everyone to pay extra attention when visiting a hospital or care home or when spending time with elderly relatives or friends in close quarters.
  • Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) sent a written statement to the Austrian press agency APA, saying that “What we’re now experiencing is the beginning of a second wave.”
    • Kurz pointed out that the number of newly detected cases every day went “from about 350 two weeks ago to 850 yesterday.”
    • The chancellor also sees the situation in Vienna as particularly dramatic, where “50 percent of all new infections are taking place.”
    • Kurz appealed to the population to keep following hygienic guidelines like wearing a mouth-nose protection (mask) indoors, keeping a distance, washing hands regularly and being generally attentive.
    • The chancellor still maintains that the summer next year will probably be again “mostly normal,” but that a “hard fall and winter” are ahead now.
  • Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) did not want to use the words “second wave” yet, but warned that we may soon see one if cases continue to rise.
    • The Health Ministry issued a novelization of the Covid act which now foresees mandatory mask wearing in all shops, stores and other indoor rooms starting again tomorrow, on Monday, September 14.
    • Anschober emphasized that “we will see positive consequences of these new measures in about 14 days,” as the experience from the spring has shown.
    • The daily number of tests is at a new all-time high in Austria (14,674 tests yesterday), which is one of the reasons why numbers now are not easily comparable with those of March and April.
    • Nevertheless, the number of new infections (869) is troublesome even compared to the number of cured people (322). Hospitalization rates and the number of ICU patients have risen recently, while mortalities have fortunately not risen yet.
  • A total of +381 new coronavirus cases were reported today in Austria, a markedly lower number than in recent days.
    • Caveat: The reported numbers on weekends are often lower, due to many laboratories only reporting during the week.
    • The number of active infections rose by +280 to a total of 5,643.
    • 226 patients (+17) with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Austrian hospitals, 44 of which (+2) are in an intensive care unit.
    • The number of deaths due to the coronavirus in Austria stands at 756.
  • Two more coronavirus clusters were discovered in Lower Austria.
    • Seven people around a gym in St. Pölten were tested positive for the virus, as well as six people who had taken part in an event at an inn in the Waldviertel.

September 12, 2020:

  • Starting on Monday, September 14, wearing a mask will again be mandatory in all shops and stores all across Austria.
    • Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) declared that he expects this measure to stay in force “for a long time,” at least throughout the entire winter.
    • Events with no fixed seating will be limited to 50 attendants indoors and 100 attendants outdoors. Bigger events with spaced seating will be limited to 1,500 people inside and 3,000 people outside.
    • Kurz also said that “the summer was a comparatively good one. The autumn and winter will be very challenging. Exactly this situation is developing now.”
    • Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) emphasized that “we want to absolutely avoid a second lockdown,” which is why it is crucial to ensure the pressure on hospitals and ICUs will not become too big.
  • Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) underlined that “many don’t want to believe it yet,” but the situation “is becoming serious again.”
    • Anschober also referenced the situation in Europe and spoke of a “trend reversal” in case numbers.

September 11, 2020:

  • The number of newly detected coronavirus cases in Austria has increased by 934 in the 24 hours between 23:00 tonight and yesterday night.
    • This is the second-highest daily increase since March 26, amidst the lockdown.
    • Even though cases are currently rising fast, it is still important to keep in mind that comparability to March numbers cannot be taken for granted – it is likely that up to five times more undetected cases were present in the spring that were recorded.
    • Nevertheless, the steep increase in cases has led the Austrian government to introduce harsher measures – and other countries to put Vienna on the red list of travel destinations (see below).
  • Switzerland put Vienna on its red coronavirus list of destinations from which travelers have to quarantine when coming back.
    • The Swiss Confederation also added Paris, several other regions in France, the British Virgin Islands and Czechia on its red list.
    • In the meantime, Germany added the Czech capital Prague and the Swiss city Genève to their risk destinations which necessitate a quarantine upon returning.
  • The reproduction number (R) of the coronavirus in Austria currently stands at 1.25, according to the AGES Agency for Health and Safe Nutrition.
    • Based on the cases in the 13 days until September 9, the number means a growth of cases of 6.5% per day.
    • Tyrol and Upper Austria have seen the strongest jumps in their R number recently, albeit they start from a lower caseload than Vienna.
  • Today the federal government announced new restrictions for the entire country, effective Monday, to combat the increasing number of new infections with the coronavirus.
    • Masks will be required in stores, official buildings, schools, and in all places where there is person-to-person contact.
    • Waiters will also be required to wear masks.
    • Indoor events without reserved seating will be limited to 50 people. The maximum number of attendees at outdoor events will be capped at 100 people.
    • Large indoor events with reserved seating will be limited to 1,500 people. If taking place outdoors, a maximum of 3,000 people will be allowed to attend.
  • The corona traffic light will remain yellow in Vienna, Graz, and Innsbruck.
  • In a press conference today, Mayor Michael Ludwig and Health Minister Peter Hacker recommended new restrictions for Vienna.
    • Corona tests should be conducted before admission to hospital facilities and nursing homes.
    • Masks should be required in all stores.
    • Masks should also be worn in restaurants and bars and can only be taken off once guests reach their table.
    • Social distancing measures must be implemented at the workplace and in communal spaces.
    • Indoor events will be further restricted.
  • 580 new corona infections, half of which are in Vienna, were reported within the last 24 hours.
    • This brings the number of active cases to 4,820.
    • 205 patients are currently being treated within Austrian hospitals. 39 of which are in intensive care.

September 10, 2020:

  • From yesterday (11:00) to today (11:00), 664 new coronavirus cases have been registered in Austria, a new record in a month other than March.
    • The number of active cases rose to 4,456, an increase of +384 (+9.4%).
    • 205 patients with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized, an increase of +8 (+4.1%) since yesterday. Of those, 39 are in intensive care, +3 (+8.1%) more than yesterday.
  • With 387 new cases, more than half of all new infections were detected in Vienna.
    • The City now demands stricter measures from the federal government to contain the virus.
    • City Councilor for Health Peter Hacker (SPÖ) wants to discuss more leeway for imposing stricter measures with the federal government and debate it tomorrow at a session of the city council. A further tightening of mandatory mask-wearing seems likely.
    • Virologist Elisabeth Puchhammer-Stöckl called the pace of more than 500 new cases a day for several days now “worrying” and urged to step up testing, contact tracing and other containment measures.
  • While Vienna is the current coronavirus hotspot in Austria, other federal states also saw a marked rise in cases in recent days.
    • Lower Austria reported 94 new cases, Tyrol 64 and Upper Austria 50.
    • In Styria, 31 new cases were reported, in Burgenland 13, in Vorarlberg 11, in Salzburg 9 and in Carinthia 5.
    • However, the current trend shows a clear upward shift at least in Vienna, Tyrol and Vorarlberg, when compared to the number of inhabitants.

September 9, 2020:

  • In the last 24 hours, 563 new cases of coronavirus were detected in Austria – that is the highest daily number since March.
    • The number of active cases rose by +367 (+9.9%) to a total of 4,072.
    • 197 patients with COVID-19 are hospitalized (+27 or +15.9%), of which 36 are getting treatment in an intensive care unit (+8 or +28.6%).
    • Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) has vowed to investigate the reasons for this sharp rise in cases and hospitalizations. If this should prove not to be a one-off statistical outlier, more severe measures will be considered.
  • The Austrian government has recently presented its own official CoV-Ampel that will guide the country’s regional policies in the coming weeks and months.
    • The Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH), has already set up a simpler version of an Austrian Corona-Ampel in early spring that is still active.
    • The government’s version of the Ampel is based on a number of indicators – from several day incidence of cases to transmission rates, track & trace capacity, hospital capacity and much more. The regional colors are then finally decided by an advisory board every Thursday, with publication on Friday.
    • The CSH’s Ampel instead is solely based on the 14-day incidence of new cases in every region and is also available in English.
    • It currently shows the city of Vienna as well as Rust in Burgenland, Kufstein and Innsbruck in Tyrol in red, as all four cities and regions exceeded the threshold of more than >=10 new cases per 10,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.
    • Most other regions in Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Salzburg, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Styria and Burgenland are yellow (<10 new cases per 10,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days).
    • Only Carinthia is almost entirely green (<1 new cases per 10,000 people in the last 14 days), with selected and more remote regions in Styria, Burgenland, Upper Austria, Lower Austria and Salzburg also in green.
  • While the current wave of new coronavirus cases cannot be easily compared to the one in spring due to significantly changed circumstances – much more testing and atypical cases found, test & trace, higher hygiene measures, more masks, fewer big congregations – the number of newly detected infections and hospitalisations still correspond visibly to a degree.
    • As can be seen on the graphic below, especially in Vienna the upward trend of active positive cases (in turquoise) can also be seen in the number of people with COVID-19 admitted to the hospital (in orange).

  • Neighboring Czechia has reported a new record in new infections on a day. In the past 24 hours, 1,164 new coronavirus infections were registered in the 10.7 million people country.
    • The number of active cases rose to 9,272, with most cases being asymptomatic.
    • As a reaction, Czech authorities made wearing a mask mandatory in all shops and stores as well as at train stations, metro stations and at the airport. Wearing a mask has been obligatory on public transport since the pandemic began.
    • Observers see a connection to the return of travelers from Croatia, traditionally one of the favorite holiday destinations for Czechs.
    • Austria currently does not plan to restrict traveling from or to the Czech Republic, the Austrian Foreign Ministry declared in a statement. Instead, the next steps should be coordinated with Austria’s neighbors, as also laid out in a three parliamentary presidents’ meeting recently in Grafenegg.
  • Car sales in Austria fell by -30% compared to the same month in the previous year.
    • The share of hybrids in newly sold cars rose to 10%, the share of fully electric vehicles (EVs) increased to 5.4%.
    • At the same time, the number of sold motorbikes increased by 28.3%.
    • Despite reduced sales numbers, there are still longer waiting times for new cars due to disruptions in supply chains and car manufacturing earlier this year.

September 8, 2020:

  • Supermarkets in Austria had a bumper year so far and are projecting a total annual rise in revenues of 4.5% compared to the previous year.
    • The lockdown in spring with closed restaurants and bars boosted supermarket sales, a trend that solidified even after eateries opened again.
    • But also aside from the COVID-effect, supermarkets have been on a solid growth trajectory for the last decades thanks to the demand for higher quality, organic and other more pricey food items.

September 7, 2020:

  • Schools in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland open their doors today.
    • As Vienna is marked yellow in the Corona-Ampel, masks for school children are mandatory on hallways and on the way to school, but not in classrooms. However, there is also some discretion for headmasters of schools.
    • Measures like regular letting fresh air in, outdoors teaching, smaller groups and one-way systems on stairs are supposed to further contain the coronavirus.
    • For parents with questions, the Ministry of Education introduced a new info hotline: 0800/21 65 95.
  • A study conducted by the Medical University of Innsbruck found that the majority of harm that the coronavirus does to lungs are reversible.
  • 290 new corona cases were reported within the last 24 hours, indicating that the number of new infections is declining again.
    • This brings the number of active cases to 3,515, an increase of only +23 (+0.7) since yesterday.

September 6, 2020:

  • While the number of active cases is still rising in Austria, the crucial reproduction number (R) this Friday fell to 1.02 from 1.14 a week before – that means, one infected person currently infects on average another 1.02 people.
    • Health authorities ascribe falling R to a decrease of new cases from travelers coming back from their holidays in countries with higher infection risk.
    • The reproduction number has been falling in all federal states in recent days:
      • The numbers of Burgenland (1.19), Carinthia (0.70) and Vorarlberg (1.05) can be calculated but have only a very limited significance, because there are so few cases there to begin with.
      • The R numbers in Lower Austria (1.21), Upper Austria (0.83), Salzburg (0.94), Styria (1.15) and Vienna (1.02) are more significant and point to a downward trend in the last week.
  • Current coronavirus numbers show a rise in active cases that were detected but not a corresponding rise in deaths from COVID-19 so far.
    • The first map below shows the number of new infections in the last 7 days compared to 10,000 people living in each region or district.
    • The second graphic compares the number of actively infected people we know of (in black) to the number of deaths from COVID-19 (in red) – while the first one has been rising again since July, the second one has fallen further even in August.

September 5, 2020:

  • The number of active coronavirus cases in Austria rose by +42 (+1.2%) since yesterday, to a total of 3,524 active cases.
    • Currently, 157 people with COVID-19 are hospitalized in Austria, 28 of which are being treated in an intensive care unit.

September 4, 2020:

  • At a press conference, the federal government presented the final details for the CoV-Ampel (corona traffic light system), which was officially launched today.
    • The system consists of four colors, from green (low risk) to red (very high risk).
      • When the traffic light is yellow:
        • Masks must be worn inside stores, restaurants, schools, and at events.
        • Events with reserved seating arrangements will be limited to 2,500 people.
        • Events without reserved seats will be limited to 100 people.
        • To host events with 500 or more people, one must first submit a request at the respective district office.
        • Outdoor events with reserved seats are limited to 5000 people. Without reserved seats, outdoor events are limited to 100 attendees. When seated, guests are not required to wear a mask.
      • When the light is green, hygiene guidelines will still be enforced.
    • The system will be re-evaluated once a week.
    • The newly announced measures will go into effect on September 11.
    • Right now, the district of Kufstein in Tyrol as well as the cities Linz, Graz and Vienna are on yellow; all other regions and districts are on green.
    • Further information is available on the CoV-Ampel website.
  • Currently, there are 3,481 active corona cases within Austria, 1,797 of which are in Vienna.
    • 357 new infections were reported in the last 24 hours.
    • 128 patients are being treated in Austrian hospitals, 28 of which are in intensive care.
    • So far, 727 people have died from or with the coronavirus.

September 3, 2020:

  • The government’s so-called “CoV-Ampel” (corona traffic light warning system) will be officially launched this Friday.
    • The system is meant to show the coronavirus risk level down to districts and regions, with colors ranging from green (low risk) to red (very high risk) with yellow (medium risk) and orange (high risk) in between.
    • The consequences of the colors, however, are not spelled out in detail and can differ from district to district or region.
    • The colors of the Ampel will be determined by an advisory board of experts in health and public policy, in consultation with experts in law.
    • According to Austrian daily OE24, one district (Kufstein) as well as three cities (Vienna, Linz and Graz) will have a yellow light, the other districts will have green light.
    • Once the Ampel was launched, the 19-headed advisory board will convene every Thursday to assess the situation and change the colors where necessary.
    • Enacting concrete measures and recommendations will then still be down to local authorities and politicians. Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) has already vowed that the government will follow the advisory board’s lead.
    • The Ampel will also take special consideration of large events – outdoor events with up to 5,000 or 10,000 people are allowed since September 1, but only under very special conditions.
  • The three parliamentary presidents of neighboring countries Austria, Czechia and Slovakia vowed that border closures should be avoided in the future when dealing with the coronavirus.
    • The meeting in Grafenegg, 50 km outside of Vienna, took place on August 30, two days before Hungary closed its borders to foreign citizens.
    • All three presidents – who are also MPs of the ruling parties of their respective countries – underlined that ad hoc border closures should not be the measures of choice when dealing with a second wave of coronavirus cases.
    • They also emphasized that good and regular coordination and cooperation between neighbors was paramount to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Czechia and Austria recorded between 200 and 500 new cases per day in recent weeks, Slovakia between 50 and 100. While the total amount of cases is slowly rising in all countries, these numbers cannot easily be compared to those of the spring, when testing was significantly less widespread and test & trace was not established yet as a practice.
  • A total of 423 new cases of the coronavirus have been detected in Austria in the last 24 hours, half of which were found in Vienna.
    • Active cases rose by a more modest +51 to a total of 3,466.
    • 161 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, of which 29 are treated in an intensive care unit.
    • More than 14,000 tests have been performed on one day. During the last two weeks, daily testing in Austria has almost doubled (from an average of about 7,000 during the summer to the 12,000-14,000 on most days now).

September 2, 2020:

  • Today the federal government presented new general recommendations to combat the spread of the coronavirus. For the fall and winter the government’s motto is: “As much freedom as possible and as few restrictions as necessary.”
    • Whenever the minimum safety distance to others cannot be kept, one should wear a mask.
    • Private parties and celebrations should be limited to 25 people.
    • Rooms should be aired regularly by opening windows.
    • The inside temperature should not go above 23 degrees Celsius.
  • Interior Minister Karl Nehammer announced that officials will now monitor quarantine violations more strictly.
    • Anyone who violates quarantine regulations will suffer consequences.
    • As of now, there have been 343 violations to the mandated quarantine rules.
  • Chancellor Sebastian Kurz assured that he will enforce stricter measures if need be, especially in regions or districts where there are corona-clusters or the number of new infections increases dramatically.
    • If this were to be the case, the government will most likely tighten restrictions for restaurants, bars, and parties.
  • Kurz also predicted that the Austrian economy will record “significant growth” next year.
  • The number of newly reported corona infections in Austria within the past 24 hours is above 400.
    • This brings the number of active cases to 3,415.
    • Currently, 149 patients are being treated in Austrian hospitals. 30 of which are in intensive care.
    • In total, 727 people have from or with COVID-19.

September 1, 2020:

  • In the month of August, more than 422,000 people in Austria were unemployed an another 452,000 people where on short-time working schemes (Kurzarbeit).
  • Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) gave a press conference today updating the population on the coronavirus situation.
    • “It’s possible that there will be a vaccine already in January,” Anschober said. In the best case, he expects 600,000 doses for 300,000 people around year’s end.
    • With the first vaccine batch, professionals in the health care sector and at care centers should be vaccinated. Later in the year, everybody who wants to be vaccinated should get the option.
    • The minister hopes that up to five vaccinations from different producers will be available throughout the next year.
    • Hygiene measures, wearing masks, good ventilation (open windows) for rooms and more vaccinations for the seasonal flu will continue to be important pillars for containing the virus over the coming months, Anschober underlined.
    • Concerning current coronavirus numbers – the number of active cases in Austria rose from 1,300 in July to 3,300 at the moment – Anschober said: “This number is too high too soon. The virus was never gone, but is more visible again.” However, as long as the clusters can be tracked and traced, this would still be manageable, the minister emphasized.
    • The coronavirus “traffic light system” (Corona-Ampel) that has been prepared and tested by the government over the last couple of months will also be activated this week.
      • Different colors for regions and districts will activate new regional measures.
      • But, Anschober stressed, even “a red light doesn’t mean a new lockdown.”

For length, clarity and loading times, we decided to split off the timeline of what happened in recent months into several 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
The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in June
The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in July
The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | What Happened in August

Numbers

As of today, October 3, 2020, the situation in Austria according to the Ministry of Health is as follows:

People tested: 1,673,868
– of which in Vienna: 377,002
Daily tests: 21,839

Confirmed cases: 47.578 (+1,013 cases (+2.2%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 17,158
Active cases: 8,576 (+101 cases (+1.2%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 4,448 (+40 cases (+1%) since yesterday)

Total hospitalized: 472 (-21 cases (-4.3%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 222
In intensive care: 100 (+2 cases (+2%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 55

Recovered: 38,045 (+859 cases (+2%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 12,458
Deceased: 803 (+1 case (+0.1%) since yesterday)
– of which in Vienna: 252

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).

Austrian tech & startup media house Trending Topics has also set up a comprehensive tracking board for the coronavirus in Austria (in German).

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 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 🖖!

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

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