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Austria: New Covid-19 stats that give us reason to be positive

More than three weeks into Austria’s coronavirus shutdown - and a week since the measures were tightened - there are some tentative yet positive signs for the direction of the pandemic in Austria.

Austria: New Covid-19 stats that give us reason to be positive
A cheesemaker at the deserted Naschmarkt market in Vienna, Austria. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

Lowest case numbers since late October

On Monday morning, Austria registered the lowest number of daily infections in almost a month, reports Der Standard. A total of 3,145 new confirmed infections were reported on Monday morning, the lowest single day figures since October 27th. 

While it might not be a major win – more than 3,000 infections is still significant, while 71 deaths were also recorded across the country on Monday – but it is some indication that the measures to curb the spread are working. 

Anschober welcomed the news cautiously, saying the measures were “slowly starting to have an effect”, although he warned that figures were always lower on a Monday due to the way reporting is done over the weekend. 

He appealed to the population to “avoid any contact which is not required”.

'Lockdown must not be extended': Austria earmarks date to wind back measures 

 

First time intensive care occupancy has decreased since late October

Sunday, November 22nd, marked the first time since late October that the number of patients in intensive care in Austria decreased. 

As can be seen in the following chart, intensive care bed occupancy has risen every day since October 25th. 

 

 

Herwig Ostermann, Managing Director of Health Austria (GÖG), said on Monday that the signs in the intensive care rooms were “quite positive”. 

1.02

That's Austria's reproduction rate – or R-Rate – as at November 18th, 2020. 

If the rate is above 1, it means that each person who is infected with the virus infects another person on average. 

As high as 1.46 on the 31st of October, the declining figure gives hope that the measures are working. 

Austria has set a goal of 0.8 to consider reopening many of the parts of the economy hit by the lockdown. 

One third

33 percent. That’s how much of Austria’s strict lockdown has passed so far, with officials hoping to end the lockdown on December 7th. 

Austrian health authorities have flagged December 7th as a possible end date for the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, provided infection rates continue to fall. 

In a press conference on Monday, November 23rd, Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober indicated that lockdown measures would be relaxed gradually, with schools likely to return to normal. 

READ: How Austria plans to emerge from the coronavirus lockdown =

24 million

That’s the number of doses of coronavirus vaccine Austria will receive from the European Union. 

Each person will need to be vaccinated twice, with people to receive both doses within a 14-day period. 

READ: When will the coronavirus vaccine be available in Austria?

The first vaccinations are expected to start in the last week of December or the first week of January. 

Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said people in risk groups would be vaccinated first, followed by health workers. 

“It is clear that the main risk groups have priority. In a second step, the employees of the health system should then be able to be vaccinated,” said Anschober in an interview with Kurier on Saturday.

The vaccination strategy and logistics are “de facto finished”.

On Monday, Anschober told Der Standard he expected hundreds of thousands of vaccinations to be carried out in January “unless something unbelievable goes wrong”. 

Seven million

That’s the number of coronavirus tests ordered by the Austrian government as part of its ‘mass testing’ plan, which will kick off on December 5th. 

EXPLAINED: How Austria's mass-testing plan will work 

The scheme kicks off in two phases. 

Saturday, December 5th and Sunday, December 6th, all state and federal teachers and kindergarten supervisors will be tested. 

On December 7th and 8th, 40,000 police officers will be tested across the country. 

Testing: These pharmacies offer rapid antigen tests 

According to Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung, “a broad series of tests is planned for the entire population before Christmas”. 

Participation in the scheme is voluntary. 

The testing will take place at around 100 testing stations which will be set up across the country. 

The tests for teachers will be carried out by the Austrian Education Ministry through each state department, while the police testing will be conducted by each state’s police department. 

Medical staff will be trained by Austrian health authorities and the Austrian military. 

 

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HEALTH

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.

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