Lockdown extension likely as Austria declares ‘the third wave has begun’

Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober
JOE KLAMAR / AFP
Austria’s Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said Austria is "at the beginning of a third wave" of the coronavirus pandemic as infection levels rise. 

The Local reported last week that coronavirus infections had hit a three-month high, putting a planned easing of lockdown restrictions on 27th March throughout the Alpine state in jeopardy.  

On Monday, Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober warned that more must be done to tackle rising infection rates in order to present hospitals from again becoming overwhelmed. 

“We are at the beginning of a third wave and must do all we can to avoid the linear increase becoming an exponential one – so that the intensive care capacities do not again reach their limits,” said Anschober.

Anschober also reaffirmed the pledge to vaccinate everyone who wants to be vaccinated by the end of June. 

Increase in intensive care patients

The number of new coronavirus infections crossed the 3,000 mark on Friday, the first time since mid-December. During last week 18,498 people were infected with coronavirus, an average of 2,643 every day. The seven-day incidence, or number of coronavirus infections per 100,000 population has risen from 176 to 208 within one week.

The number of intensive care patients has also increased by around 15 percent in the past week. 

Steady climb in infections

The number of infections has been steadily climbing in Austria since lockdown measures were relaxed on February 8th

The federal government is meeting today (Monday) to discuss the current coronavirus situation with experts, governors and the opposition in three rounds.

There will be no decision on further easing measures today, as previously planned, the Chancellery told Austrian news agency APA.

Vorarlberg’s hotels and restaurants are allowed to open from today as part of a pilot programme. The state has the lowest number of infections in Austria.


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