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

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Today in Austria: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday
Austrian ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is currently on trial for lying to a parliamentary committee about whether he embezzled public funds to boost his image. (ALEX HALADA / AFP)

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


Austria 'reaching intensive care capacity' in hospitals

Meduni Vienna researcher Peter Klimek has said Austria is moving towards the limits of its capacity in the intensive care sector in an interview with Vienna Today.

Klimek says the situation will only relax when a high percentage of the population at risk has been vaccinated, which could be done by the end of April, ORF reports. He also says the Easter holidays could be extended to create a natural lockdown.

The researcher adds while in principle, Austria could open more with accompanying protective measures, but says this  would possibly send the wrong signal at the moment.

ORF quotes Klimek as saying: "It's nice to be able to give people who are already meeting each other a safe place. But it is all the more problematic if you set an incentive for it and also give the signal that more contacts are now possible again.”


Around 3,239 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday

The Ministry of Health reported 3,239 new infections with the coronavirus on Wednesday. The seven day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 210.7.

The number is still highest in Salzburg (284.2) and Vienna (270.0). The value is lowest in Vorarlberg (57.9) and Tyrol (159.4).

Extra Pfizer/Biontech vaccines for Austria

Austria along with a number of other EU countries could receive extra Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines against COVID-19 in the near future.

The delivery is intended to compensate for the shortage that has occurred due to individual countries not ordering all available vaccines earlier, in autumn, when the initial procurement was made Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also sees a EU "correction mechanism" for vaccine distribution within reach, Wiener Zeitung reports. The final decision is yet to be made by the member states. 

AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, says Chancellor Kurz

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told the ZIB2 programme on Wednesday evening he expects the European Medicine Agency (EMA) will not advise countries to stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine, Der Standard newspaper reports.

He said the vaccine was "extremely relevant" for Europe and a stop "would be a massive setback”, and reiterated that he thinks Astra Zeneca is safe.

"Over 1,000 people die of corona in Europe every day. The danger is the virus and not the vaccination”, he said. The EMA is due to release its findings over the AstraZeneca vaccine today.



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