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

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Today in Austria: A round-up of the latest news on Friday
This picture shows a vial of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Paris on March 11, 2021. - European countries can keep using AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine during an investigation into cases of blood clots that prompted Denmark, Norway and Iceland to suspend jabs, the EU's drug regulator said on March 11, 2021. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

Find out what's going on in Austria today with The Local's short round-up of the news.


Traffic Light Commission warns of ‘high risk’ 

Austria’s Traffic Light Commission expects the significant increase in the number of coronavirus cases to continue, and says with the exception of Vorarlberg, there is already a "very high risk".

Consideration should be given to withdrawing the relaxation of the visiting rules in the hospitals, the committee said after the weekly meeting on Thursday, in case the intensive care units continue to come under pressure.

Seven day incidence at 191.6

The the 7-day incidence, or number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 191.6 according to the Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), the number is highest in Salzburg (257.2), Burgenland (238.1) and Vienna (230.7). The value is still lowest in Vorarlberg (72.5) and Tyrol (106.8).

Around 631,427 people or about 7 percent of the population have received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Around 256,268 people have received both vaccination.


More exit restrictions on the way?

Several districts in Austria are approaching a seven-day incidence of 400 coronavirus cases per 100,000, the level which triggers exit restrictions.

The number of new infections continues to rise nationwide. Wiener Neustadt and Hermagor are currently above the critical limit, as are Jennersdorf and St. Johann im Pongau.

On Thursday exit restrictions were extended to the entire Gastein Valley. The districts of Lienz in East Tyrol, Weiz, Perg and Wels-Land could also soon reach the limit, Wiener Zeitung newspaper reported on Friday. 

AstraZeneca vaccinations to continue in Austria

Austria is continuing to vaccinate with AstraZeneca's despite Denmark and Norway suspending vaccinations.

The Ministry of Health told the Austrian Press Agency continuing the vaccination campaign was “important” and “saves lives every day". The experts of the National Vaccination Board have seen no need to postpone or suspend vaccinations.

Slow economic recovery

The economic recovery in Austria is picking up slowly according to new figures released by Economic Research Institute (Wifo) data. GDP was around 12.5 percent  lower in the first five weeks of the year than in the same period of the previous year according to reports by Die Presse newspaper.

GDP was also affected by the lockdown after Christmas. The institute says while industrial production is benefiting from the global economic recovery, economic activity in trade and other services continues to be severely impaired due to pandemic restrictions.

Decline in imports

Statistics Austria preliminary data shows there has been a significant decline in imports and exports into and from Austria in 2020. 

Several media outlets, including Wiener Zeitung newspaper and Die Presse newspaper, report the total value of imported goods was €144.2 billion, 8.6 percent below the previous year's figure, while exports of goods fell by 7.5 percent to €141.93 billion. 

€10 billion for clean energy 

Around €10 billion will be invested in Austria over the next 10 years into clean energy. By 2030 all electricity in Austria will come from 100 percent renewable sources, according to the Wiener Zeitung newspaper. Austria’s Renewable Expansion Law should come into force before summer.




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