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AUSTRIA

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

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

Vaccines
AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP

Pandemic situation ‘getting worse’

Further tightening of containment measures is expected in the coming days in Austria, at least regionally, as the situation with the pandemic is getting worse and the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals’ intensive care units has increased, Die Presse newspaper reports.

Easter lockdown ‘will not be enough to contain pandemic’

The President of the Austrian Society for Anaesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Care Medicine (ÖGARI) Walter Hasibeder has told the Ö1 morning journal radio programme he does not think the Easter lockdown in Eastern Austria will be sufficient to contain the virus.

He wants a 14-day lockdown and for the measures to be taken across Austria due to the intensive care bed situation the Der Standard newspaper reports. 

Two thirds of population to be vaccinated  by end of June

Health Minister Rudof Anschober has presented the vaccination plan for the second quarter, pledging to vaccinate two thirds of the population with at least one jab by the end of June.

Currently, an average of 33,446 vaccinations are carried out daily and 1.1 million people have received at least one vaccination dose, Der Standard newspaper reports. 

Exit tests for North Tyrol

People wishing to leave North Tyrol from Wednesday will have to show a recent negative PCR test, broadcaster ORF reports. The exit test requirements will initially be in place for two weeks for North Tyrol and within Tyrol for the Kufstein district.

The reason is an outbreak of the British coronavirus variant mutation with other mutation features (B.1.1.7 with E484K). It is feared the new variant will be more vaccine resistant.

East Tyrol is exempt from the exit test. According to AGES there are 103 such cases in the Schwaz district, 54 cases are known in the Kufstein district to date. 

New wave in autumn, virologist warns

The Austrian virologist Dorothee von Laer is already warning of a new wave of infections in autumn.

Although she expects a quiet summer, should vaccine resistant variants of the coronavirus prevail during this time, there could be another wave in autumn, von Laer on Sunday told the broadcaster ORF.

She said it was important to prepare for this and plan more vaccinations.

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CULTURE

All churned up: Austrian oat milk ad draws farmers’ ire

Austrian farmers were left fuming after an advert for winter tourism featured oat -instead of cow's- milk, in what industry representatives sourly slammed as an "affront to Tyrolean farmers".

All churned up: Austrian oat milk ad draws farmers' ire

The commercial was to promote Austria’s western Tyrol region, renowned for its rolling pastures and rugged peaks that are a magnet for winter sports lovers.

In the ad, a hairy, horned mythical figure called “Percht” — known for driving out winters in Alpine folklore — is invited into a Tyrolean mountain hut for a warming drink after returning a young girl’s glove that he found in the snow.

But it is the next scene that had farmers in a froth — when the “Percht” creature orders a “latte macchiato with oat milk”.

READ ALSO: Austrian Christmas traditions: The festive dates you need to know

“It can’t be that a promotional video for Tyrol features ‘oat milk’ and not the very own, genuine Tyrolean milk,” Josef Hechenberger, president of the Tyrolean Chamber of Agriculture said in a statement.

The ad is an “affront to Tyrolean farmers”, he added. 

Another regional Chamber of Agriculture and the Tyrolean Farmers’ Union had also voiced complaints, arguing that dairy-related names such as “oat milk” were banned by the European Union in adverts because they do not contain dairy products.

The uproar led to the advert which runs just over one minute long being pulled.

Tourism marketing organisation Tirol Werbung that commissioned the promotional video said the aim was to portray local hospitality and open-mindedness.

But it acknowledged that the underlying message that every preference and lifestyle is welcome in Tyrol had been lost on some viewers.

The ad called “Come as you are — in Tyrol everybody is welcome” was originally designed to cater to “modern, urban” clientele, for whom “climate protection is important” and who might be lactose-intolerant, Tirol Werbung’s communications chief Patricio Hetfleisch told AFP Thursday.

READ ALSO: Austrian clichés: How true are these ten stereotypes?

The punchline was that “every lifestyle and each preference, ranging from gender to food” would be welcomed with hospitality in Tyrol, Hetfleisch said.

“Obviously the punchline could not be decoded by some,” he added.

The commercial only aired for around 10 days before being suspended earlier this week due to criticism, Hetfleisch said.

Hashtags and memes surrounding the row are still trending in Austria.

It was originally shot in 2019 and produced by a Berlin-based creative film production agency.

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