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Austria to extend coronavirus lockdown

Austria will extend its coronavirus lockdown, while the free testing scheme to leave lockdown early will be scrapped.

Austria to extend coronavirus lockdown
Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP

Austria’s coronavirus lockdown is set to be extended until at least January 24th.

The news was confirmed by Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober on Monday morning. 

The closure of non-essential shops as well as hospitality venues is set to be extended by one week until January 24th, along with the mandatory stay-at-home order for people in all of Austria’s states. 

Anschober said at a press conference on Monday “this means that testing to get out of lockdown early will not be possible”. 

According to Der Standard, face-to-face teaching in schools will also be delayed for a week

In addition, the government will scrap the planned free testing scheme, which would have allowed anyone who tested negative to leave lockdown on the 18th of January. 

August Wöginger, chairman of the Austrian People’s Party, the free testing scheme faced significant pressure from Austria’s opposition. 

“The opposition has enclosed us in concrete,” said Wöginger. 

“A national alliance would have been necessary, but if there is no majority in the Federal Council, the opening week from January 18 cannot go as planned,” said Wöginger. 

When asked if the schools were also set to remain closed, he replied, “Yes, lockdown is lockdown.”

Austria’s opposition indicated it would not pass the free testing scheme for two months, forcing the government’s hand. 

 

 

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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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