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

Medical staff tend to a patient at the intensive care unit for patients infected with Covid-19
ALAIN JOCARD / AFP
Find out what's going on in Austria today with The Local's short round-up of the news.

Rise in variants means longer quarantine

The coronavirus situation in Austria is beginning to come to a head, according to the Wiener Zeitung newspaper. Quarantine is being extended in some federal states because of virus variants, increasing case numbers and more intensive care patients.

The Brazilian and South African variants have been detected in Austria and the British variant is becoming dominant. This means longer quarantine times are needed. 

Vienna, Salzburg, Carinthia, Styria, Lower and Upper Austria have all extended the quarantine period from ten to 14 days. 

Seven day incidence increases

The 7-day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, has increased. According to the Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), it is 185.2 as of Monday at 2pm. 

The number is highest in Salzburg (245.7), Vienna (228.9) and Lower Austria (214.2). The value is still lowest in Vorarlberg (76) and Tyrol (115.9). There are currently 1,472 patients in hospital treatment, 317 of them in the intensive care unit.

The corona dashboard shows 569,417  people have had their first dose of coronavirus vaccine, around 6% of the population.  246,050 people have had both doses.

A nurse administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine. Pascal GUYOT / AFP

“It disgusts me”: Kurz critical of violence and racism at anti-coronavirus demonstrations 

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has condemned violence and examples of racism at a series of protests against the government’s coronavirus measures over the weekend. 

Protesters are alleged to have used the Nazi salute (Hitlergruß) and shouted “Sieg Heil” at the protests. 

In parliament on Monday, Kurz criticised the “hooligan mentality” of the protesters. 

“It disgusts me. I am of the opinion that there should be no place for something like this in Austria.”

Police confirmed on Monday that a number of arrests were made during the protests, which were attended by an estimated 30,000 people across Vienna. 

Austria’s states ready for increase in vaccine doses

Austria’s federal states are ready and waiting for the double deliveries of vaccines promised by the EU in April according to Der Standard newspaper.

Seven smaller vaccination centres are currently in operation in Vienna, and two vaccination centres have been set up for teachers and other priority professions in the Austria Center and the exhibition center.

Four more centres will be added once more deliveries of vaccine are made. City Councillor for Health Peter Hacker says Vienna would be able to vaccinate 100,000 people per week without using the armed forces. In Tyrol the Red Cross are helping administer extra vaccines sent by the EU to combat the South African variant. 

‘Difficult negotiations’ over opening in Vorarlberg

“Difficult negotiations” are ongoing between the federal government’s Ministry of Health and Vorarlberg, which under current plans could open its restaurants on 15th March as a pilot area, broadcaster ORF reports. Talks were broken off late last night and will carry on this morning.

Vorarlberg wants to use testing to reopen indoor dining, but Health Minister Rudolf Anschober is cautious about this strategy, though he is committed to using testing. 

Habsburg descendent criticises Meghan and Harry interview

The grandson of Austria’s last Emperor, Karl von Habsburg, has criticised Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey saying the appearance was “gossip” and “trash”, according to the Kronen Zeitung newspaper.

He also pointed out that the pair were so far behind in the line of succession, they play no role, and described the global broadcast appearance as “completely inappropriate”. 


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