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 11

  • Travelers to Austria will have to register electronically starting this Friday, January 15.
    • Both Austrian citizens and those from other countries will have to register before entering the country and will have to show the registration when asked by the authorities (e.g. at the border).
      • There are several exceptions to this requirement, e.g for commuters, people visiting close family regularly (e.g. their parents or partners) or for essential reasons.
    • The quarantine rules – 10 days of quarantine that can be cut short to 5 with a negative coronavirus test – will continue to apply until further notice.
      • In our article Traveling to Austria in Times of Corona, we explain this in more detail – please note that the new decree was not published yet in full and while most rules will continue to apply, we can only update it accurately once the decree is out.
    • Travelers will also have to register an address for the time of stay in Austria and how long they plan to stay in the country.
    • The registration document will be available at www.oesterreich.gv.at.
    • Documents for exceptions can be uploaded on the same registration page.

  • Medical experts and the Austrian Red Cross presented today an information campaign about the coronavirus vaccine in Austria.
    • The initiative “Österreich impft” (“Austria vaccinates”) wants to inform people about the vaccines, with the goal to get “if possible everybody in Austria” vaccinated.
    • “The risks [of the vaccine] are disproportionate to the disease. We can be happy that there is a vaccination,” said Ursula Wiedermann-Schmidt, Professor of Vaccinology and Head of the Institute for Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine at the Medical University Vienna.
    • Wiedermann-Schmidt supports to approval of the mRNA vaccines of Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna, saying “The technology is not new. There have been vaccine platforms for years that shorten the development phase, they didn’t start from scratch in the development of vaccination.”
    • Markus Müller, director the Medical University Vienna, showed himself concerned that “Currently, only a quarter to a third of the population is willing to be vaccinated.” He said factual and objective information is key to countering this skepticism.
    • Herwig Kollaritsch, member of Austria’s vaccination council and expert in tropical medicine, said: “Vaccines are victims of their success. We lack the connection to suffering.” Serious diseases such as smallpox, diphtheria and polio have completely disappeared from everyday life and from the consciousness of Austrians – fortunately, because there are vaccinations against them.
  • When presenting Austria’s vaccination campaign, the experts also presented several numbers.
    • For the normal flu vaccination, 2,000 people need to be vaccinated in order to prevent a single person from falling ill.
    • With the vaccine against the coronavirus, vaccinating five people is already enough to prevent a person from falling ill (these are statistics – the protection is of course valid for everyone who gets vaccinated).
    • For every 450 people that get the vaccine, one death due to COVID-19 can be prevented.
    • For more information on the vaccines and the vaccination campaign in Austria, you can visit österreich-impft.at (in German) or call the information helpline 0800 555 621.
    • Since the start of vaccinations in Europe, 30,000 people in Austria were vaccinated, with another 34,535 doses being delivered these days.

  • Austrian ministries reported 1,536 new infections in the last 24 hours.
    • The 7-day-incidence fell slightly to 161 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
    • Austrian federal states reported the following numbers of new cases:
      • Burgenland: 41
      • Vorarlberg: 76
      • Tyrol: 81
      • Carinthia: 113
      • Upper Austria: 179
      • Styria: 194
      • Salzburg: 199
      • Vienna: 302
      • Lower Austria: 351
Active casesHospitalizedIn intensive care (ICU)Deaths
Total20,2502,2973796,747
Daily change-752+51+7+24
In percent-3.6%+2.3%+1.9%+0.4%
Daily Tests*RecoveredTested Positive
Total14,089355,530380,722
Daily change-86+1,781+1,651
In percent-0.6%+0.5%+0.4%

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

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, January 11, 2021.

  • Austria’s federal state have started the year with rolling out free rapid antigen mass testing programs for all residents who want to take part.
    • The mass testing campaign starts today in Styria and in Salzburg.
    • Vienna has been offering free testing at several sites since late summer (here’s our guide to Where to Get a COVID-19 Test in Vienna).
      • The city also takes part in the current mass testing drive, the testing sites at the Stadthalle, the Messehalle around Praterstern and the Marxhalle in the 3rd district are again available.
      • People can register here for testing at the Stadthalle. There’s currently no need to register for testing at the Messehalle and the Marxhalle.
      • Since yesterday, Sunday, 80 new cases have been found in Vienna through mass testing.
  • The 7-day-incidence in Austria currently stands at 170 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
    • This is significantly above the target of 100 new cases that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) announced at the beginning of the third lockdown as the goal for lifting measures.
    • The 7-day-incidence is currently lowest in Vienna, with 130 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and highest in Salzburg, with 322 – no federal state currently reaches the goal set by the government.
    • After falling rapidly in the second half of November and first half of December, as a result of the second lockdown, in recent weeks, new cases numbers, hospitalizations and the number of patients in intensive care have all stabilized on still quite high levels.
  • The government has warned ski area operators that they will take official measures to shut them down if the operators do not get the rush of people under better control.
    • Since ski areas opened on December 24, several areas have seen a large influx of skiers, particularly on weekends, holidays and close to big cities.
    • The police already closed the Kreischberg resort after too many people were allowed to ski there over the weekend.
    • Hotels and Hütten (restaurants on the slopes) are all closed, so skiers cannot gather indoors. FFP2-masks are obligatory in closed gondolas.
    • While a large number of people in a small space is a concern, it is also true that the coronavirus spreads best in closed spaces indoors – the chance of spreading outdoors is much lower, if sufficient distance is kept at all times.
  • Researchers at the University of Graz are currently developing and testing lozenges that should prevent people with COVID-19 from infecting others.
    • The chewable tablets are small and can be dissolved in the mouth like normal cough drops.
    • The goal of the lozenges is to make saliva in the mouth and throat non-infectious and thus reduce the risks for anyone meeting the (potentially unknowingly) infected person.
    • The lozenges will not protect from the infection and disease as such and are certainly to replacement for the vaccination, but they could be another tool to contain the virus.
    • Clinical studies are planned over the coming months, the researchers hope to bring the product to market in the fall of this year.
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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.