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HEALTH

MAPS: Where are Austria’s emerging coronavirus hotspots?

Our interactive map shows where coronavirus cases are on the rise in Austria’s nine states.

MAPS: Where are Austria’s emerging coronavirus hotspots?
Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

New cases of coronavirus continue to be recorded across the country. 

As a result, Austria’s Coronavirus Commission switched four districts to ‘red’ on the country’s Corona Traffic Light for the first time. 

Hallein (Salzburg), Wels-Stadt (Upper Austria)  Innsbruck-Stadt and Innsbruck-Land (Tyrol) have become the first districts to be denoted as red under the country’s Corona Traffic Light scheme. 

How many new cases recorded (as at Friday, October 16th)?

A total of 933 cases were recorded in the 24 hours to Friday. 

While the numbers are high by historical standards, they remain lower than the record numbers seen earlier this week.

A total of 1,346 new cases were recorded on Wednesday, which was a record number for Austria over a 24-hour period since the start of the pandemic. 

That record was then broken on Thursday when 1,552 cases were recorded

It is important to note that while this week has seen higher case numbers, this does not necessarily equate to more infections due to increases in testing. 

READ: The charts and maps that explain the state of the pandemic in Austria 

A total of 16,119 tests were carried out from Thursday to Friday in Austria, meaning the country has a test positive rate of 5.8 percent. 

Where are Austria’s emerging hotspots? 

The highest case numbers over the past 24 hours recorded on Friday morning were in Upper Austria, where there were 238 new detected infections. 

Vienna had the next highest figures, with 230 new recorded infections. 

Tyrol (206), Salzburg (165), Styria (145), Vorarlberg (76), Lower Austria (53), Burgenland (25) and Carinthia (25) all rounded out the list. 

Which states are hardest hit? 

The hardest hit states in Austria tend to be the most populous, although a per capita figure shows how the virus has spread across the country. 

Over the past seven days, the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants – a more accurate metric used to determine the spread of the virus – shows that Vienna, Tirol, Salzburg and Vorarlberg have been the hardest hit. 

Austria itself has a rate of 89.9 infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the past seven days – well over the ‘high risk’ threshold of neighbouring Germany and Switzerland. 

The situation is particularly acute in Vienna (139.2), Tirol (117), Salzburg (113.3) and Vorarlberg (100.9). 

Only two states – Styria (45.1) and Carinthia (46.4) – are below 50, Germany’s threshold for determining if a country or region is high risk.

The following map shows the infection rates over the past seven days in Austria’s nine states (per 100,000 residents). 

Stay tuned to The Local for updated case numbers and information on lockdown restrictions across Austria. 

 

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COVID-19

Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Austrians expressed shock and anger this week over the suicide of doctor who had been the target of a torrent of abuse and threats from anti-vaccination protesters.

Austria in shock over doctor's suicide following anti-vax abuse

The bells of Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral rang out in memory of Lisa-Maria Kellermayr on Monday, and hundreds of people held a candle vigil outside, after the 36-year-old doctor was found dead at her practice on July 29.

She had long been the target of death threats because of her criticism of the widespread anti-lockdown protests of 2021.

An autopsy later confirmed that Kellermayr had taken her own life.

Austria has found itself deeply polarised over coronavirus restrictions and in particular a government policy –subsequently dropped — of making vaccination against the coronavirus compulsory.

Kellermayr — whose practice was in the region of Upper Austria where immunisation rates are particularly low — had frequently complained of the menace.

“For more than seven months, we have been receiving… death threats from those opposed to coronavirus measures and vaccinations,” she wrote at the time, sharing a message from one internet user who said they would pose as a patient in order to attack her and her staff.

She described how she had “invested more than 100,000 euros” ($102,000) in measures to ensure her patients’ safety and was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Then, at the end of June, Kellermayr announced on her professional website that she would not be seeing patients until further notice.

Daniel Landau, who organised a memorial vigil for her in Vienna, said that Kellermayr had become a virtual recluse for several weeks. “She didn’t dare to leave” her office, Landau told AFP.

Fanning the aggression

On Saturday, the head of Austria’s doctors’ association, Johannes Steinhart, said that while aggressive behaviour towards medical staff was not new, it had been “fired up and noticeably aggravated” by the debate over Covid-19 and vaccines.

The police, who had previously suggested Kellermayr was exploiting the situation for attention, insist they did everything to protect her. The local prosecutor’s office also rejected suggestions it could have done more.

“As soon as we received the police report (identifying one of the suspects), we sent it over to the relevant authorities in Germany,” spokesman Christoph Weber said.

On Friday, prosecutors in the neighbouring German state of Bavaria said a 59-year-old suspect was being investigated by a specialist hate speech unit.

At the beginning of the week, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen visited the small town of Seewalchen where Kellermayr lived to lay flowers in her memory.

After news of her death broke, he had appealed to Austrians to “put an end to intimidation and fear”.

‘They’re gagging us’

But on some Telegram groups, the hateful messages continue.

“Some people are celebrating her death; others believe the vaccine killed her,” said Ingrid Brodnig, a journalist and author who investigates online disinformation.

“Stricts laws exist” already against online hate, but not enough is done to implement them, Brodnig said.

One government minister has floated the idea of a separate prosecutor’s office to target such cases. Doctors and researchers have also been targeted elsewhere.

French infectious disease specialist, Karine Lacombe, described how she had been vilified for her work as part of a collective of doctors combatting coronavirus-related disinformation.

She, too, complained that the response from the authorities in the face of threats was not robust enough, and has scaled down her public appearances this year.

“You end up thinking that the risk isn’t worth it,” she told AFP. “In that sense (the aggressors) have won, they are gagging us,” she said.

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