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 25

News From Austria

  • According to the Health Ministry, three tranches of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in Austria on Feb. 7.
    • Following the approval of the company’s vaccine, expected on January 29, AstraZeneca will reportedly deliver 63,354 doses of its vaccine on Feb. 7, another 97,763 on Feb. 17, and 182,430 doses by the end of February.
    • In total, Austria expects to receive 343,547 vaccine doses from AstraZeneca in Q1 2020.
    • That is significantly less than was originally planned for the first quarter. AstraZeneca cited production problems as reason, while the EU and politicians criticized the company sharply.
Active casesHospitalizedIn intensive care (ICU)Deaths
Total15,0721,8463207,451
Daily change-570+29-/+0+33
In percent-3.6%+1.6%-/+0%+0.4%
Daily Tests*RecoveredTested Positive
Total17,266383,200405,723
Daily change+1,170+1,546+1,009
In percent+7.3%+0.4%+0.2%

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

People Vaccinated*
Total~170,144
Daily change+/-0
In percent+/-0%
Percentage of population1.91%

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

Source: Austrian Ministry of Health, January 25, 2021.

  • Starting today, January 25, FFP2 masks are mandatory in many areas of public life, including in stores, service providers, and on public transportation.
    • Grocery stores, including Hofer, Spar, and REWE (Billa, Merkur, Penny) announced that they would hand out the surgical-grade masks to each customer for free during the first three days of the week.
    • Lidl will provide cost-free FFP2 masks beginning on Thursday. The wholesaler METRO also stated that it will be giving the masks out for free.
    • “This offer is valid as long as reserves last at the respective location,” said REWE in a statement today.
    • The chain currently has five million masks in stock and has ordered 25 million more.
    • The other stores also confirmed that they have stocked up on FFP2 masks.
    • Those who refuse to wear a FFP2 mask will be fined €25, according to the Health ministry.
    • FFP 2 masks provide better protection against airborne viruses, they are the equivalent to N95 respirators in the United States.
  • Austria’s current third lockdown has seen significantly more mobility overall than previous ones.
    • While mobility fell by around 70% during the first lockdown in the spring, it only fell around 45% during the second lockdown in November.
    • In the current third lockdown since after Christmas, a maximum of 27% drop in mobility could be observed.
    • Currently, according to data from last week, we are approaching a mobility reduction of 20-25%.
    • This helps to explain why the current infection numbers have dropped from their highs, but by far not as much or as rapidly as during previous lockdowns.
  • Styria has opened its registration system for vaccinations today.
    • People aged over 80 can register per phone, online or in the respective municipality.
    • The first vaccination appointment for these people not living in nursery homes should start in mid-February.
  • In Salzburg, the second round of vaccination jabs starts today.
    • Over 8,400 residents of nursing homes and 2,500 doctors and healthcare workers will then be fully immunized.
  • In Vorarlberg, almost 100,000 people already pre-registered for the vaccination against COVID-19.
  • Austria’s 7-day-incidence currently stands at 118 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
    • After falling for two months, the incidence recently stabilized around 120.
    • The government has named a value of 50 new cases as goal for lifting measures.
    • The 7-day-incidence varies markedly in the federal states.
      • Salzburg: 220
      • Vorarlberg: 184
      • Carinthia: 159
      • Burgenland: 103
      • Upper Austria: 101
      • Tyrol: 97
      • Vienna: 96

News From Elsewhere

  • Today Moderna announced that its vaccine is effective against the British and South African virus mutations. However, it appears that the vaccine yields fewer antibodies against the South African strain. Now, the company is developing another form of the inoculation that could be utilized as a booster for additional protection.
    • Moderna conducted a study that used blood samples from eight people and two monkeys who had been administered two doses of its vaccine.
    • The South African variant showed a sixfold reducing in the levels of neutralizing antibodies.
  • France is considering to impose a new lockdown.
    • After crushing the curve with its last pre-Christmas lockdown from more than 50,000 new cases a day to the low thousands, infections have been on the rise again recently.
    • The country reported 20,000 new cases on several days last week.
    • Furthermore, there is concern that new strains first discovered in Brazil, South Africa and the UK could be more infectious and thus pose an even greater risk.
  • Israel’s ambitious vaccination campaign shows first concrete and very encouraging results.
    • Data from the country’s health care providers show a sharp drop in deaths per capita due to COVID-19 in the last week, despite still rising infection numbers across the country.
    • Israel has so far given more than 25% of its population a first vaccine jab, 8% have received their second jab.
    • It takes between 3-6 for the vaccines to fully immunize those who got them.
    • The 9-million-people nation has recorded up to 8,000 new infections a day in mid-January and thus entered a third lockdown. This week, international airports have been temporarily closed.
    • Israel’s numbers of new infections also show a steep drop, more so than could be expected merely from a lockdown that quickly. Experts see this also as a result of rapid vaccinations.

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.