Coronavirus cases in Austria are ‘twice the reported numbers’

Austria is estimated to have at least twice as many new coronavirus infections than officially reported, a study showed Friday, with more than three per 1,000 people thought to have caught the virus in early April.

Coronavirus cases in Austria are 'twice the reported numbers'

The SORA institute-led study found that 0.32 percent of those surveyed in  the first week of April tested positive for the new coronavirus.

SORA said it was the first such study in the EU to better understand the virus's prevalence.

The result means some 28,500 of Austria's close to nine million people were likely affected, the institute said, compared to the official statistic of up to 12,200 coronavirus infections for that April week.

SORA said taking into account deviations, between 10,200 and 67,400 people in total could have been affected. The study surveyed 1,544 people.

“There has been the assumption that more people are infected than those officially tested… It's along the lines of other findings so far,” SORA founder Christoph Hofinger told AFP.

The Alpine nation adopted strict confinement measures in the middle of March, ordering people to largely stay at home, only allowing food shops and pharmacies to stay open and restricting people from entering the country.

As the increase in the number of new infections has flattened out, the government says smaller shops and gardening and hardware stores can re-open next week, as a first step in a gradual loosening of measures.

On Friday, Austria reported some 13,400 coronavirus infections with 319 deaths.

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WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

The World Health Organization's European office said Saturday that more monkeypox-related deaths can be expected, following reports of the first fatalities outside Africa, while stressing that severe complications were still be rare.

WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

“With the continued spread of monkeypox in Europe, we will expect to see more deaths,” Catherine Smallwood, Senior Emergency Officer at WHO Europe, said in a statement.

Smallwood emphasised that the goal needs to be “interrupting transmission quickly in Europe and stopping this outbreak”.

However, Smallwood stressed that in most cases the disease heals itself without the need for treatment.

“The notification of deaths due to monkeypox does not change our assessment of the outbreak in Europe. We know that although self-limiting in most cases, monkeypox can cause severe complications,” Smallwood noted.

The Spanish health ministry recorded a second monkeypox-related death on Saturday, a day after Spain and Brazil reported their first fatalities.

The announcements marked what are thought to be the first deaths linked to the current outbreak outside Africa.

Spanish authorities would not give the specific cause of death for the fatalities pending the outcome of an autopsy, while Brazilian authorities underlined that the man who died had “other serious conditions”.

“The usual reasons patients might require hospital care include help in managing pain, secondary infections, and in a small number of cases the need to manage life-threatening complications such as encephalitis,” Smallwood explained.

According to the WHO, more than 18,000 cases have been detected throughout the world outside of Africa since the beginning of May, with the majority of them in Europe.

The WHO last week declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.

As cases surge globally, the WHO on Wednesday called on the group currently most affected by the virus — men who have sex with men — to limit their sexual partners.

Early signs of the disease include a high fever, swollen lymph glands and a chickenpox-like rash.

The disease usually heals by itself after two to three weeks, sometimes taking a month.

A smallpox vaccine from Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic, marketed under the name Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe, has also been found to protect against monkeypox.