CoV on Jan. 24-31 | Federal Government to Decide Next Steps Tomorrow

The coronavirus is shaping our lives. Here’s everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Austria this week – updated regularly.

January 26

News From Austria

  • More than 400,000 people have already registered for CoV vaccination in Vienna.
    • Among older people, there are apparently concerns that registration is not possible without the Internet. However, it is also possible via the health hotline 1450.
  • Wearing FFP2 masks has been mandatory since Monday. The Chamber of Labor draws attention to the fact that the prices for the masks can vary greatly.
    • Apart from limited free promotions at supermarkets, FFP2 masks are also available for purchase. For example, they cost €0,59 to €0,99 cents each in domestic online drugstores.
    • In pharmacies, a mask is offered at prices of up to €5.69 per piece.
    • Between the cheapest and the most expensive price for a certified FFP2 mask there is thus a difference of 864%, according to the Chamber of Labor (AK).
    • AK (Chamber of Labor) Consumer Protector Manuela Delapina stated: “The largest price difference for one and the same product is 366%.”
  • SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner pleads for Vaccine “crisis production” in Europe in view of the supply bottlenecks of the CoV vaccine manufacturers.
    • Rendi-Wagner acknowledged that there were difficult legal issues – such as licenses – to be clarified here.

Active casesHospitalizedIn intensive care (ICU)Deaths
Total14,6991,8863207,515
Daily change-373+40-/+0+64
In percent-2.5%+2.2%-/+0%+0.9%
Daily Tests*RecoveredTested Positive
Total21,107384,926407,140
Daily change+3,841+1,725+1,417
In percent+22.2%+0.5%+0.3%

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

People Vaccinated*
Total~179,000
Daily change+8,856
In percent+5.2%
Percentage of population2.01%

*people who received at least one dose of the vaccine; Jan. 24, 2021.

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, January 26, 2021.

  • In the Pinzgau region, 4 cases of the British CoV mutation were detected for the first time on Tuesday. A new test procedure from a company in Thalgau (Flachgau) was used.
    • The diagnostics company has developed a PCR test that detects mutations of the virus within 90 minutes without sequencing.
  • The decision on a possible extension of the lockdown or loosening of measures will not be made until next week.
    • This was announced by the opposition after the conclusion of the video conference with the government and experts last night.
    • Another meeting has been arranged for next week. Virologist Dorothee von Laer said that procedures, from Feb. 8 on, have not yet been discussed in detail.
    • Von Laer is not in favor of a stricter lockdown with further imposed exit restrictions. According to the Virologist, at least skiing should be reduced.
    • FPÖ Chairman Norbert Hofer said that the government will decide on extending the lockdown next Monday. “It was a highly theoretical debate with few concrete answers.”
    • NEOS party leader Beate Meinl-Reisinger criticized the lack of the parliaments “real involvement”; no real forecast calculation had been put on the table.
    • SPÖ Chairwoman Pamela Rendi-Wagner took part; she does not want to comment until today.
    • The issue of the announced vaccine supply cuts also consumed much time from the previous video conference between the government and provincial governors.
    • Carinthia’s Governor Peter Kaiser (SPÖ) demanded disclosure to gain clarity about transactions and any applicable penalties in the event of non-compliance with the contracts.
    • The Chancellor’s Office stated that the infection situation was currently still “stable” and the 7-day incidence “slightly decreasing.”
  • Those who have been vaccinated in Vorarlberg should receive the second dose only if there is enough vaccine.
    • In addition, the state said that these people will be vaccinated at the earliest when the deadline ends – that is, after 42 days.
    • The goal, however, is for everyone to receive the second dose after a first vaccination.
    • Whether these prematurely vaccinated persons also receive their second dose depends, according to the State Press Office, on whether sufficient vaccine is available.
    • The state government plans to announce more about vaccination today at noon.
  • Practical driver’s license tests and driving lessons may be held.
    • This concretization was published by the Ministry of Health yesterday. Up until now, this had been assumed impossible during the lockdown.
    • Infrastructure Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) today spoke out in favor of a practical solution for the theory courses for the driver’s license which remain forbidden.
    • Gewessler said that she wanted to find a regulation that was as practical as possible, but also in line with health protection.
    • A solution is being worked on intensively, but this is an exceptional situation in all areas.
  • In Vienna and Lower Austria Schools are to reopen on Feb. 8, in the remaining states on Feb. 15.
    • ÖVP Education Minister Heinz Faßmann said that collateral damage is to be kept as low as possible and that a support package of €200-million is to contribute to this.
  • Most Covid 19 deaths in Austria continue to occur in nursing homes and homes for the elderly.
    • 43% of all people who have died with the CoV-2 pathogen since the outbreak of the pandemic were housed in homes.
    • This was confirmed by Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) in response to a parliamentary question from NEOS.
    • Until Jan. 25, 7,451 Covid-19 deaths were recorded throughout Austria, of which 3,245 died in retirement and nursing homes, according to the Ministry of Health.
    • Styria has by far the most deaths among nursing home residents. Up to Jan.18, 1,491 people had died in Styria – 814 of them (55%) lived in old people’s or nursing homes.
    • The comparatively lowest figure, 38%, was recorded in Tyrol. There, 518 people died with the CoV-2 pathogen. Nursing home residents accounted for 199 CoV-19 deaths.
    • Only 4% of those infected to date – 18,082 people who tested positive for CoV lived in nursing homes or long-term care facilities out of a total of 405,723 infected people.
    • As of Nov. 12, deaths in retirement and nursing homes still accounted for 38%. Carinthia in particular stands out here – not a single death was recorded there in November.
    • Almost 11 weeks later, the proportion of nursing home residents then already accounted for 48%.
    • Only in Vienna did the proportion of deaths in old people’s and nursing homes fall – from 43 to 39%.

News From Elsewhere

  • Some 900 Holocaust survivors died in Israel last year after being infected with CoV. In total, some 17,000 Holocaust survivors died in 2020, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics said today.
    • Some 5,300 Holocaust survivors were infected with the CoV, and 17% died as a result, it said. All Holocaust survivors are over 75 years old, and about 17% of them are over 90.
  • More than 100,000 people in the United Kingdom have died in connection with CoV since the pandemic began.
    • By mid-January, nearly 99,000 people in England and Wales had Covid-19 listed on their death certificates, the UK Statistics Authority said today.
    • The U.K. is home to about 67 million people.
  • The Italian government has sent a reminder letter to the U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
    • In it, Rome asks the company to fulfill its contractual obligations regarding the delivery of vaccine doses for the Italian immunization campaign.
    • Italy will take legal action at the national and European level to guarantee that the vaccination campaign continues as planned, the letter said.
  • The Netherlands again experienced severe rioting last night in the wake of protests against the CoV curfew that got out of hand.
    • Hundreds of violent youths rioted and attacked police in several cities. More than 151 people were arrested, according to police.
    • Police and mayors of the affected cities believe that various groups are participating in the riots – including CoV deniers, soccer hooligans and neo-Nazis.
    • Sunday night, severe riots in about ten cities had shaken the country. The police had spoken of the worst riots in 40 years.
  • US President Joe Biden has renewed the entry ban for Europeans. The measure was extended to foreign travelers from South Africa to protect against a new variant of the coronavirus.
    • “The national emergency caused by the coronavirus outbreak in the United States continues to pose a serious threat to our health and safety,” the proclamation signed by Biden yesterday said.
  • Mexico has become the fourth country in the world to surpass the 150,000 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.
    • According to statistics reported yesterday by the country’s Ministry of Health, the total number rose to 150,273.
    • The previous high in 24 hours was reached by the country last Thursday, when there were 1,803. Many hospitals in Mexico are currently full.
    • On Sunday, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was being treated for mild symptoms.
    • Furthermore, 24 million doses of the Russian CoV vaccine “Sputnik V” were ordered.
    • This was announced yesterday by the President after a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin.
    • However, the use of “Sputnik V” still has to be approved by the relevant Mexican authorities.
  • Indonesia, today surpassed the 1 million CoV infection case mark. This makes the Southeast Asian country of 270 million people the worst hit in the entire region by the pandemic.
    • About 13,000 new infections were recorded today, according to the Ministry of Health. More than 28,000 people have died in Indonesia in connection with the virus.

Go to the next page for news from January 25.

Amina Frassl
Amina is Metropole's online content manager. She writes about news and news analysis and is currently completing her studies in journalism and politics at NYU.

Numbers

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

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.