Rising infection rates put Austria’s restaurant openings at risk

Rising infection rates put Austria's restaurant openings at risk
Empty tables and chairs outside two restaurants in Vienna (ALEX HALADA / AFP)
Infection rates are rising in Austria again, leading to fears the proposed opening of restaurants and cafes in March will be put on hold. The relaxation of pandemic measures is due to be discussed on Monday. 

Even in the past few days, the number of infections has risen rapidly.

On Thursday almost 2,400 new coronavirus infections were reported in a 24-hour period. The day before it was 2,000.

Anschober ‘longing’ for relaxation – but British mutation posing a threat

Health Minister Rudolph Anschober said on Friday while he is “longing” for relaxations to the rules, like everyone else, it was “worrying” the number of infections was rising sharply. 

Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober  (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

In an interview with Austria’s Der Standard newspaper, Anschober said the stronger the rise, the less likely it is that there will be openings in the short term. 

Anschober said it was unlikely the rise in infections was totally connected to the relaxation measures introduced at the beginning of February, and was more likely to be driven by the rise of the British mutation of the virus.

In Vienna, the British variant is now more dominant than known variants of the virus. 

READ MORE: British coronavirus mutation now dominant in Vienna

In eastern Austria this more contagious variant already accounts for well over 50 percent of new infections.

He also said some of the rise in reported infections could be down to more testing.

On Monday the government will know more about what is driving the rise in infections before it makes its decision. 

New infections on the rise in Lower Austria and Burgenland

The 7-day incidence, or  the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, rose to 145. 

The number of infections is highest in Lower Austria (178.2) and Burgenland (171.2) and lowest in Vorarlberg (62.2) and Tyrol (87.9).

Corona hotspots include Hermagor in Carinthia with a value of 670.

The British variant, which is particularly strong here, means people are being found to be contagious even after 10 days of quarantine, according to the Kurier.

Wiener Neustadt is another hotspot with a 7-day incidence of 436. However, in nearby Rust, no corona cases have been registered at all in the past week. Other low-incidence areas are Bregenz (35), Innsbruck (45) and Steyr (50). 


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