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HEALTH

FFP2 masks now mandatory across Austria

FFP2 masks are required from today, January 25th, in public transport, shops, long-distance transit, airports and other places.

FFP2 masks now mandatory across Austria
Photo: AFP

FFP2 masks will now be required in all retail shops and supermarkets, along with public transport throughout Austria. 

Long-distance trains will also require FFP2 masks, as will doctors surgeries, airports and aeroplanes.  

Anyone who fails to wear a mask in a long-distance train in Austria will risk a fine of 40 euros. 

Previously, cotton masks or scarves were sufficient to satisfy the regulation. 

EXPLAINED: Why is Austria making FFP2 masks mandatory? 

Austria put in place a range of stricter rules after a meeting on January 17th, including extending the lockdown until February 7th. 

READ MORE: Austria extends lockdown until February 7th

While FFP2 masks are more expensive than standard medical masks, the government has promised that they will be available to Austrians at cost price. 

People on low incomes would be entitled to the masks for free, a government spokesperson said. 

 

READ MORE: How much is the fine for not wearing a mask in Austria?

Supermarkets Lidl, Spar and Rewe told APA on Sunday that they would be selling the masks at cost price – although they were unable to confirm the exact costs of the masks on Sunday. 

A spokesperson from Rewe told Der Standard that the masks would be offered “as cheaply as possible”. 

The retailers also indicated that there would be no issues with supply, even as demand is set to spike as a result of the new law. 

“Any mouth and nose protection is good, but the FFP2 mask is massively better,” said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) on Sunday. 

FFP2 masks offer better protection against the coronavirus and other pathogens, with up to 94 percent of aerosols filtered out. 

 

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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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