CoV on Jan. 4-10 | New Cases Stabilize Around 2,000 a Day

The coronavirus is shaping our lives. Here’s what happened in regards to COVID-19 in Austria in the week of Jan. 4-10, 2021.

January 5, 2021

  • All of Austria’s federal states will offer permanent free testing for the coronavirus in the coming weeks and months.
    • Originally, the federal government had planned another round of “mass testing” on the weekend of January 17 so that people could “test themselves free” (Freitesten) to go to shops, restaurants and cultural events.
    • The opposition rejected this strategy of Freitesten, effectively prolonging the lockdown for everyone until January 24.
    • That also called the strategy of mass testing on one weekend into question.
    • As a replacement, the federal states and the federal government now agreed to set up “permanent testing infrastructure” across the country.
    • The rapid antigen tests will be free, organization of the tests and registration differ in every federal state.
    • Vienna has been following a strategy of a permanent testing infrastructure already since late summer, when it started to test travelers for free.
  • Austrian ministries recorded 2,311 new cases in the past 24 hours.
    • For the first time in a week, 100 deaths have been reported in Austria, and the 7-day incidence of new infections has been rising again since last Monday.
    • The 7-day-incidence of new infections in Austria has risen to 169 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Active casesHospitalizedIn intensive care (ICU)Deaths
Total20,2252,4043716,457
Daily change-555+83+3+100
In percent-2.7%+3.6%+0.8%+1.6%
Daily TestsRecoveredTested Positive
Total15,450343,039369,721
Daily change+2,849+2,766+2,311
In percent+22.6%+0.8%+0.6%

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, January 5, 2021.

  • Great Britain’s and South Africa’s new COVID strains have been detected in Austria for the first time.
    • The genetic material of the virus variants were found in samples taken at the Vienna-Schwechat airport. Among the 5 affected are 3 children.
    • The British B.1.1.7. mutation has now been detected in 32 countries, said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) at a press conference on Monday.
    • Among them are now also 15 European countries – including Austria.
    • The fact that the British mutation has now been found is not a coincidence, Anschober continued, but rather the result of a “targeted search” for it.
    • The Health Minister stated: “Around 1,800 sequencing tests have been carried out in Austria to date. This should now be intensified.”
    • Anschober resumed: “Strict entry controls will be maintained in any case.”
    • Head of the Public Health Department at AGES, Franz Allerberger, explained that the South African mutation had been detected in a 30-year-old Austrian woman on Dec. 6.
    • The variant from the United Kingdom was first detected in a 12-year-old girl after returning on Dec. 18.
    • On Dec. 21, detection occurred in a man who arrived in Austria on one of the last flights from the UK before flight traffic was temporarily stopped.
    • In addition, two Slovakian siblings aged 9 and 10 had contracted the viral mutation.
    • There are no indications of a widespread spread, said Andreas Bergthaler of the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (CEMM).
    • Bergthaler explained: “The mutations have not yet been detected in wastewater samples from sewage treatment plants.”
    • He continued: “That the new variants will have a negative impact on the effectiveness of CoV vaccines is unlikely.”
  • The debate about the pace of vaccinations is heating up in Austria.
    • After receiving a first batch of 10,000 vaccine doses in late December, it now emerged that some federal states – such as Vienna – have used their batch fully while others – such as Carinthia – have not used any of their vaccine doses so far.
    • See tweet below for more details (in German) about how many doses the federal states have used so far.
    • Furthermore, the Health Ministry’s vaccination coordinator Clemens-Martin Auer was quizzed about Austria’s vaccination strategy and said that vaccinations will only continue once a “critical mass” of vaccine doses will be available in the country.
      • Starting next week, vaccinations will resume “across the board” in over 9,000 elderly and care homes across the country.
      • Altogether, 110,000 vaccine doses were delivered to Austria so far.

Go to the next page for news from January 4.

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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

Current Status

If you live in Vienna, make sure to register for getting a vaccine against COVID-19 under impfservice.wien.  Here you can book your vaccination appointment.

The City of Vienna offers free vaccinations without an appointment to everyone – regardless of citizenship, residency or insurance status – at multiple locations across the city. 

Vienna has reinstated a number of coronavirus restrictions for the fall. The Austrian government has presented a plan for schools and universities.  

Here’s an overview of where you can get tested for COVID-19 in Vienna and how the free PCR “gargle” tests at home work. 

If everything is a bit much for you or you experience domestic violence of any kind, here is our mental health resource article.

Numbers

For current coronavirus numbers, check the website of Ministry of Health and the AGES dashboard.

The Austrian Ministry of Health also publishes daily vaccination statistics and a preview of scheduled deliveries.

Resources

The City of Vienna has compiled comprehensive information on questions and answers regarding coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease in English.

The Austrian Ministry of Health has put together FAQs on the coronavirus and also provides material to download on how to protect yourself and others from the disease, also in English.

Furthermore, the ministry will constantly update its German-language website with information on the number of people tested and cases of COVID-19 in Austria.

Hotlines

Health advice by telephone1450

If you show symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties) or fear that you are ill, stay at home and dial health number 1450 for further procedures (diagnostic clarification).

Coronavirus hotline AGES+43 0800 555 621

The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) answers questions about the coronavirus (general information on transmission, symptoms, prevention) 24 hours a day at +43 0800 555 621.

VKI hotline for travel law questions+43 0800 201 211

For legal questions concerning trips that have already been booked (e.g. whether a trip can be cancelled free of charge), the experts of the Association for Consumer Information (VKI) provide advice free of charge from Monday to Sunday between 09:00 and 15:00 at +43 0800 201 211.