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 12

News From Austria

  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, 2,977 of the 6,819 deaths due to COVID-19 in Austria took place in nursing homes.
    • In total, 96,000 people live in nursing homes and care homes across the country.
    • Of those, 16,777 residents and 9,500 caregivers tested positive until now.
    • While 2,977 of the resident who had the virus died due to COVID-19, none of the caregivers did.
    • All nursing home and care home residents should get their first vaccine jab in the next two weeks.
  • The new faster spreading coronavirus strain B.1.1.7 was now also found in a Viennese nursing home.
    • On January 5, after a long period with next to no infections, suddenly 42 out of 101 people living in the home were tested positive for the virus.
    • Caregivers found that suspicious and asked the AGES to sequence the swabs, which is how the exact strain can be determined.
    • This confirmed that the mutant variant that was first found in the UK is among the positive cases in the nursing home.
  • In the Tyrolean community of Jochberg in the district of Kitzbühel, 17 cases of coronavirus are suspected to have been caused by the new UK CoV mutation, which is currently spreading fast on the British isles.
    • Previously, PCR tests had revealed abnormalities. According to the country, the affected persons were of different origins – for the most part, British citizens.
    • Most of these Britons had traveled to Austria to take part in courses for becoming a skiing teacher, which was covered by an educational exception to the coronavirus entry rules.
    • In addition, other people from the districts of Kufstein and Kitzbühel were found to have conspicuous PCR profiles.
  • Austrian ministries reported 1,575 new infections in the last 24 hours.
    • The 7-day-incidence fell slightly to 157 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
    • Austrian federal states reported the following numbers of new cases:
      • Burgenland: 24
      • Vorarlberg: 87
      • Tyrol: 149
      • Carinthia: 84
      • Upper Austria: 196
      • Styria: 223
      • Salzburg: 222
      • Vienna: 343
      • Lower Austria: 247
Active casesHospitalizedIn intensive care (ICU)Deaths
Total19,4522,3013786,819
Daily change-529+4-1+72
In percent-2.6%+0.2%-0.3%+1.1%
Daily Tests*RecoveredTested Positive
Total17,264357,562383,833
Daily change+3,175+2,032+1,575
In percent+22.5%+0.6%+0.4%

*daily tests refers to reported PCR tests, rapid antigen tests are not included

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, January 12, 2021.

  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) received today an application for a conditional marketing authorisation for the vaccine of AstraZeneca.
    • The vaccine developed by Oxford University and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is based on an adenovirus vector, a long-established method.
    • It provides protection against the coronavirus, even though studies in both Brazil and the UK provided slightly different results as to the level of protection.
    • Vaccine studies reported an efficiency of between 62% and 90%.
    • One big advantage of the AstraZeneca vaccine is that it can be stored in fridge temperature (both mRNA vaccines have to be stored in variable degrees of deep freeze).
    • That means the AstraZeneca vaccine can be easily administered by local general practitioners (GPs) and other healthcare providers.
    • Furthermore, if the vaccine will be approved, it will be a third vaccine and its production capacity available for deliveries.

  • The first doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived today in Austria.
    • 7,200 doses arrived already, another 10,000 will be delivered by end of January.
    • By the end of first quarter 2021, a total of 200,000 Moderna vaccine doses ought to be delivered.

  • A Linz café operator only briefly opened her establishment on Monday despite the lockdown.
    • Less than an hour after opening, the authorities were at the door. People were asked to leave, Police Spokesman David Furtner said.
    • 45 guests were checked and reported, and face fines of up to €1,450 per person. The café operator was also fined up to €30,000.
    • The woman had announced the action at a Corona demo in advance, also to the media.
    • A sign outside the establishment read: “As a mom, I’m forced to circumvent the ordinances… I can no longer take care of my child.”
    • “hello”
  • The majority of all old people’s and nursing homes will be vaccinated against the coronavirus within the next 14 days.
    • In Lower Austria and Carinthia, this goal could already be achieved by the end of this week, said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP).
    • About two-thirds of nursing home residents are currently being vaccinated in the first wave, Kurz reported, citing feedback from the states and nursing homes.
    • Currently, about 10,000 vaccinations are administered per day, he said. Every resident of a nursing home can be vaccinated voluntarily.
    • Kurz said: “This is an important milestone in protecting the elderly and vulnerable. The sooner we vaccinate them, the sooner we avoid overburdening hospitals and intensive care units.”

News from Elsewhere

  • Drugs used to to treat rheumatoid arthritis have found to cut the relative risk of death of some treated in intensive care with COVID-19 by up to 24%.
    • Early results from Britain’s healthcare system NHS suggest that the drugs tocilizumab and sarilumab cut the relative risk of death for people with severe COVID in ICUs.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in danger of coming under pressure over a possible breach of CoV rules.
    • The politician was spotted riding his bicycle in Olympic Park in the east of the London over the weekend – more than 11 kilometers from his residence in Downing Street.
    • Under lockdown rules, however, people are only supposed to move around the local area.
  • Despite CoV vaccination campaigns, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not expect widespread protection against the virus through herd immunity to be achieved this year.
    • WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said yesterday: “We will not reach any levels of population immunity or herd immunity in 2021.”
    • Swaminathan praised the “incredible progress” that has been made with the rapid development of not one but several safe and reliable vaccines.
    • He said the production and delivery of the billions of doses of vaccine takes time and that people must continue to be patient.
  • Lebanon has declared a health emergency and further tightened the lockdown due to another sharp rise in the number of CoV infections.
    • Yesterday the Lebanese government decided on an 11-day curfew which is to begin on Thursday.
    • Last Thursday, a far-reaching lockdown with a curfew after dark had come into force. Shortly thereafter, the number of new daily infections rose to more than 5,000.
    • The number of deaths climbed to more than 1,600, according to the Ministry of Health.
    • Hospitals complain of a shortage of free beds in intensive care units. Patients sometimes have to wait a long time outside the clinics for treatment.
    • Local media speak of the government’s failure. Over Christmas and New Year, the government had relaxed restrictions.
    • Due to the CoV pandemic and the explosion disaster in the port of Beirut in early August, which killed more than 190 people, many people have slipped into poverty.
  • In the fight against further spread of the coronavirus, South Africa is sealing off its land border with immediate effect.
    • All 20 border crossings with neighboring countries should remain closed until mid-February, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised speech last night.
    • Currently, about 15,000 CoV 19 patients are being treated in clinics.
    • In total, more than 1.2 million people have already been infected with the coronavirus in the country of nearly 60 million people.

Go to the next page for news from January 11.

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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.