Austria orders local lockdown as coronavirus cases rise

The town of Kuchl in the Hallein district of Salzburg is being put under lockdown this week in a bid to control the spread of Covid-19.

Austria orders local lockdown as coronavirus cases rise
A main street in Kuchl. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/enschiner

With a few exceptions, such as for deliveries and essential workers, entry into and exit from the municipality will no longer be allowed from Saturday October 17th until November 1st, said Salzburg's head of state Wilfried Haslauer on Thursday.

The town, which lies on the border of Bavaria in Germany, has about 6,600 residents.

It has recorded the highest number of new infections per 100,000 people in the last seven days in Austria, with around 841 infections.

“The situation is getting completely out of hand,” said Haslauer who belongs to the conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP).

He described developments in the state as dramatic, warning that capacity in clinics could reach their limits in less than two weeks. If that happens, a more severe lockdown would probably be unavoidable, he said.

In Austria, the number of registered new infections rose to a record 1,552 cases within a day on Thursday.

According to the Interior Ministry, 480 new cases were registered in Vienna alone. Compared to Germany, the figures – taking into account the number of residents – are about twice as high.

READ ALSO: Austria records highest daily total of new coronavirus infections

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EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

Austria's capital city Vienna has begun registration appointments for those who want to get a monkeypox vaccine. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

As of September 9th, people can make reservations for monkeypox vaccination in Vienna, authorities announced. It is possible to register for the vaccine using the health service line by calling 1450 or via the Impfservice website.

The City of Vienna has said the pre-registration is needed because all planning will be done through a central system due to a shortage of vaccines.

“Please understand that due to the vaccine shortage, we cannot offer preventive monkeypox vaccination to everyone interested. We can use the reservation platform to quickly allocate available appointments and contact interested parties as soon as there are more vaccines”, the authorities said.

After the registration, people will be contacted to book appointments on September 14th. The first available date will be September 19th.

READ ALSO: Monkeypox in Austria: What causes it and is it serious?

Who should be vaccinated against monkeypox?

Vaccination of the general population is currently not recommended.

Preventive vaccination is only offered to health care workers with a very high risk of exposure to people with monkeypox (designated monkeypox departments/outpatient clinics/offices) and persons with individual risk behaviour (persons with frequently changing sexual contacts), the City of Vienna said.

The health authorities in Vienna also have a specific information sheet in English with more information on the disease.

Monkeypox is a notifiable disease caused by a virus closely related to the smallpox virus and which can cause a condition similar to smallpox but rarely deadly. People with immunodeficiencies, pregnant women and children are at risk of more severe symptoms.

The virus spreads from person to person through contact with infectious skin lesions, via air droplets through speaking, coughing, sneezing, or other body fluids, and when having prolonged and close physical contact, e.g. through sexual intercourse.

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Usually, the first symptoms show up 5 to 14 days (at the latest, 21 days) after exposure. These include fever, general exhaustion, headaches, muscle and body aches, gastrointestinal problems and frequently painfully swollen lymph nodes.

“If you have symptoms and have had contact with someone with monkeypox, you must self-isolate at once and call 1450. If you have a confirmed monkeypox infection, you need to stay in self-isolation until the last crust has fallen off”, the Austrian authorities added.