Austria to deliver new coronavirus measures on Saturday

The Austrian government is set to announce a new set of coronavirus restrictions on Saturday.

Austria to deliver new coronavirus measures on Saturday
A sign reads 'please stay home for two weeks'. Will Austria enter a lockdown?Photo: Christof STACHE / AFP
The Austrian government met on Thursday to discuss the implementation of stricter measures as new infections in the country continue to skyrocket. 
The proposed new measures are set to be announced on Saturday, October 30th. 

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler and Health Minister Rudolf Anschober along with a number of health experts met on Thursday afternoon to discuss implementing new measures to curb the spread of the virus.

While the government has refused to rule out putting in place a ‘lockdown light’ similar to that adopted in Germany, Austrian media reports that the most likely option on the table is a nighttime curfew. 

Record infections – again

On Thursday, 4,453 new infections were recorded across the country – the first time since the start of the pandemic when more than 4,000 cases have been recorded in a 24-hour period. 

A total of 29 deaths were recorded across the country from Wednesday to Thursday. 

When comparing Austria’s federal states, the most new, confirmed cases were in Lower Austria (1,074), followed by Vienna (821), Upper Austria (796), Tyrol (584), Styria (355), Salzburg (262), Vorarlberg (261) and Carinthia (166) and Burgenland (119).

‘Lockdown light’ or a nighttime curfew could be on the way

A range of lockdown measures have been put on the table at Thursday’s meeting. 

MAPS: How many patients are in intensive care where you live in Austria? 

As reported in The Local on Wednesday, the crucial metric which the government takes into account in deciding upon further lockdown measures is not case numbers, but hospitalisation rates. 

Austrian media reports that one option being considered is a ‘lockdown light’ similar to that adopted in Germany, which would involve the closure of bars, restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues for a set period of time. 

Schools and daycare centres remain open in Germany. The German measures will come into force on Monday, November 2nd, and will remain for the rest of the month. 

Another possibility is a restriction on movements night. 

While few details have emerged about the applicable times and duration of the nighttime curfew, Kurier reports that people would be restricted to their homes at nighttime unless they had a valid reason for leaving. 

“In any case, leaving the apartment would be permissible in emergencies, to look after people in need and children, to go shopping (“covering basic needs”), for professional purposes and in general for physical and mental relaxation outdoors,” Kurier reports. 

The curfew would likely remain for a ten-day period. 

Please stay tuned to The Local Austria for everything you need to know about the announcement. 

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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.