CoV on Jan 11-17 | Lockdown Extended Until Feb. 7

The coronavirus is shaping our lives. Here’s what happened in regards to COVID-19 in Austria in the week of Jan. 11-17, 2021.

January 16

News from Austria

  • Viennese residents may pre-register for the COVID vaccine here and will be placed on a waiting list.
  • Today the federal government will continue discussing the next steps for the country. Hints point to a possible extension of current national lockdown. It looks like even retail stores will remain shut. The official announcement is scheduled for Sunday.
    • Contrary to the recent announcement by Education Minister Heinz Fassmann, schools will most likely also remain closed.
    • For now, a large-scale loosening of restrictions seems unlikely, due to the newly identified cases of the British virus mutation.
      • The extent to which the variant has spread in Austria will be determined next week.
  • The Medical University of Vienna conducted a spot test on 83 positive PCR tests and detected the UK variant in 14 samples.
    • This means that roughly 17% of all analyzed positive cases have the mutation.
  • Announcements made by experts following a roundtable discussion with the federal government point towards a further tightening of restrictions.
    • For being in lockdown, the rate of new infections is “from our point of view way too high” and is also “no longer decreasing enough,” said Oswald Wagner, Vice President of the Medical University of Vienna.
    • Wagner stated that new “measures must be introduced to dramatically reduce the 7-day incidence.” The goal is to get this value “far below 50,” as an incidence of 50 is a “clear limit.”
      • Such rules include the general FFP2 mask requirement, a two meter distance to others, mandatory home office, and intense testing.
    • Wagner also told a journalist that a “general lockdown without any exceptions” would be effective.
    • The lockdown could last two or three weeks, said Wagner. Ultimately, the aim is to bridge the time between the lockdown and the vaccine without “creating a new lockdown.”
Active casesHospitalizedIn intensive care (ICU)Deaths
Total17,6732,0103427,053
Daily change-914-32+5+66
In percent-4.9%-1.6%+1.5%+0.9%
Daily Tests*RecoveredTested Positive
Total23,593367,785392,511
Daily change+1,049+2,571+1,723
In percent+4.7%+0.7%+0.4%

*daily tests refers to reported PCR tests, rapid antigen tests are not included
People Vaccinated*
Total87,195
Daily changen.a.
Percentage of population0.98%
*people who received at least one dose of the vaccine

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, January 16, 2021.

  • A study conducted by the Austrian magazine profil found that the majority of the population does not work from home.
    • 33% of the 801 participants said that they “don’t at all” work from home, another 29% indicated that they “have no option to do home office.” Only 20% works “almost completely” from home, and another 20% does home office at least “partially.”
  • Today Carinthia started inoculating individuals above 80 who live outside of care facilities. According to Head of State Peter Kaiser, 25,000 people have registered, which are 83% percent of the eligible people in that age group. A total of 1,800 vaccine doses are available this weekend.
  • This morning the second round of national mass testing began in Lower Austria. 1,151 test stations have been installed in 573 districts. These will remain open until 18:00 tomorrow.
    • More than 1.5 million residents above the age of six have the opportunity to get tested. Even if they did not register to do so.
    • The first round of testing was conducted in the federal state in December. Back then, 39% of the Lower Austrian population participated in the initiative.
    • As of early afternoon, 196 antigen tests – or 0.11% – were positive. So far, 172,962 people – 11.42% – have gotten tested.
  • The registration for the COVID vaccine for individuals above age 80 in Upper Austria got off to a chaotic start yesterday. 8,840 people were able to register, and the waiting list is very long, the state’s task force told APA.
  • Large-scale anti-corona protests organized by left-wing and right-wing extremist groups are planned to take place in Vienna today. Up to 30,000 people are expected to attend.

News from Elsewhere

  • According to the Johns Hopkins University, more than two million people have died with or from COVID-19 worldwide since the start of the pandemic.
  • After a lot of back-and-forth, Italian shops and restaurants must close anew starting tomorrow.
    • Most recently, the number of deaths and new infections have slightly decreased. However, authorities fear the third wave and the slow vaccine production.
  • Germany recored more than 18,000 new infections in the past 24 hours. 980 people died in the same time frame.
    • In comparison, the country reported 22,368 new cases yesterday.
    • So far, Germany has vaccinated over one million residents.
  • Portuguese hospitals are at the brink of collapse. The rates of infection and death are the highest they have ever been.
  • The French government has further tigthened restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Starting today, a national curfew, lasting from 18:00 to 6:00, goes into effect.
    • France also introduced stricter rules for travelers entering the country from a non-EU state. These must provide evidence of a negative PCR test and quarantine for seven days upon entry After self-isolation, individuals must get tested again.
    • The country is, like others, worried about the new British coronavirus mutation.
  • According to the Swiss daily newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Switzerland could approve the British Astra-Zeneca vaccine this month. Up until now, the country has authorized the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
  • The WHO Emergency Committee has preliminary decided that a coronavirus vaccine confirmation document is required for international travel. The group said that there are still many open questions regarding the effectiveness of the vaccines.

Go to the next page for news from January 15.

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Amina Frassl
Amina is Metropole's former online content manager. She is a contributing writer, focusing on current news and politics. She recently received her Bachelors' degree in journalism and politics from New York University and is currently pursuing her Masters' in international affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

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 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.