Today in Austria: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday

Today in Austria: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday
Photo by Lukas on Unsplash
Find out what's going on in Austria today with The Local's short round-up of the news.

Chancellor Kurz will propose a vaccination passport at an EU summit 

Sebastian Kurz wants to propose a “Green Passport” vaccine and test certificate modelled on Israel’s at Thursday’s EU summit.

According to Wiener Zeitung newspaper Greece supports the proposal along with Bulgaria. Kurz told journalists the certificate could bring freedom of travel back within the European Union.

He said he had spoken to numerous EU counterparts as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about it. However, the opposition FPÖ party in Austria said Kurz wanted to bring in surveillance for Austrians with “compulsory testing, compulsory vaccination and compulsory labelling”. 

Kurz in Israel to talk about vaccine production 

Chancellor Kurz and Danish PM Frederiksen are meeting today in Israel for talks with government representatives about the Israeli Covid-19 vaccination strategy and possible future vaccine production.

Sharon Alroy-Preis of the Israeli Ministry of Health told the Wiener Zeitung newspaper that Israel was a major biotech location and the country has an excellent reputation as a home for start-ups. He said: “All of these make us an excellent location for vaccine production.”

Vienna to start giving AstraZeneca vaccine to over 65s. 

Vienna’s City Councillor for Health Peter Hacker has announced he will be offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to over 65s in Austria’s capital over the next few weeks.

He expressed “incomprehension” on Wednesday in a press conference about the vaccination board’s decision to continue to advise the vaccine be given to younger people

Ursula Wiedermann-Schmidt, the scientific director of the National Vaccination Committee, thinks the Viennese approach is “by no means wrong”, Wiener Zeitung reports. 

Women are paid less than men in Austria

Statistics Austria figures showing the wage gap between men and women in Austria is only slowly closing. In 2019, women in Austria earned 19.9 percent less per hour than men in the private sector. According to Wiener Zietung newspaper in an EU comparison, Austria is still well above the European average of 14.1 percent.

Were ‘Austrian’ masks made in China?

Local mask manufacturer Hygiene Austria’s government contract is now on hold following a raid, according to Der Standard. The company was formed in spring 2020 with the stated aim of manufacturing face masks in Austria, rather than relying on imports from overseas.

Investigators now suspect that Hygiene Austria imported FFP2 masks from China and then had them relabelled “Made in Austria” with the help of illegal workers.

The company has links to the government, as the managing director of Hygiene Austria, Tino Wieser, is related by marriage to the office manager of Kurz.


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