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COVID-19 VACCINES

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

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

The sun rises over Lake Mondsee  (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
The sun rises over Lake Mondsee in Austria (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Children to be vaccinated over the summer

Children aged 12 to 15-years in Austria will be vaccinated in July and August, Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein, told broadcaster ORF at the weekend. He also promised that testing for Covid-19 would remain free over the summer and said he favoured installing air filters in schools.

READ MORE: EU approves use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children 12 and over in Europe

Five million vaccinations administered in Austria

More than five million vaccinations have been administered in Austria. According to the Ministry of Health, 3.59 million people in Austria have received at least one first vaccination, and of these 1.49 million have complete vaccination protection against Covid-19. However, despite this progress, more than half of the population eligible to be vaccinated  in Austria has not had a first jab.

Sputnik decision ‘not expected until autumn’ 

Due to a lack of data, a decision on the approval of the Russian corona vaccine Sputnik V in the EU is not expected in Germany until September at the earliest, according to  the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, citing government circles in Berlin. Austria has bought one million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, as The Local reported earlier in the year

READ MORE: Austria rejects emergency approval for Russia’s Sputnik vaccine

Separation notices not valid for Green Pass

In Austria, currently a “separation notice” ( Absonderungsbescheid) can be used to prove that you have recovered from Covid-19 and avoid the testing requirement to enter venues and events. This is a notice issued by the medical officer in Austria  which means an employee has to stay at home in quarantine for 10 days on full pay. However, this will not be accepted for the EU’s Green Pass, to travel abroad. Instead, to prove you have recovered from Covid-19, you must have a certificate registered in the epidemiological reporting system (EMS), where all known infections with the SARS-CoV-2 virus are recorded.

Loss of short term working will lead to job losses

Short-time working support must be reduced and this will lead to job losses, says labor market boss Johannes Kopf, in an interview with the ZiB programme on Sunday. The economy is picking up speed. At the beginning of 2021 there were 110,000 more unemployed people in Austria in a comparison with 2019, now there are “only” 51,000 additional unemployed. 

Seven day incidence at 38.3

The seven-day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 38.3. With the exception of Vorarlberg (82.3), all federal states are now below 50 – with Burgenland (23.1) still having the lowest value.

Health federalism ‘led to problems’ in the pandemic

Viennese health economists Maria Hofmarcher and Christopher Singhuber found health federalism in Austria led to problems during the pandemic – especially with contact tracing, and also led to different vaccination policies in each state, in a report by Die Presse newspaper.

ÖVP politicians accused of giving false statements

Head of the cabinet Bernhard Bonelli and ex-ÖVP vice-party chairwoman Bettina Glatz-Kremsner are suspected of giving false statements to a U-Committee, which is punishable with a prison sentence of up to three years. The suspicions concern the state holding Öbag and its supervisory board and sole director Thomas Schmid, Der Standard newspaper reports.

ÖVP faction leader attacks prosecutor’s office

The faction leader of the ÖVP in the “Ibiza” investigation committee, Andreas Hanger, accused the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office [WKStA] yesterday of wanting to investigate out of a desire for revenge against ÖVP justice spokeswoman Michaela Steinacker. Opposition parties said the attacks by the ÖVP were destroying trust in the rule of law, broadcaster ORF reports.

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Most Austrians are in favour of supporting Ukraine, calls for return of a mask mandate as Covid numbers rise, Graz approves heating allowance and more news from Austria on Thursday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Austrians are in favour of supporting Ukraine

A majority of Austrians are in favour of a unified EU line in support of Ukraine, according to a survey by the Austrian Society for European Policy.

The research showed that 29 percent of respondents said sanctions against Russia should be further tightened, while 20 percent consider the measures taken by the European Union so far to be sufficient. However, about 26 percent believe the measures are too harsh and around a quarter are unsure.

According to the survey conducted from 26 to 28 September, 30 percent of Austrians consider it “very important” and 25 percent “rather important” that the EU member states take a unified line in their support for Ukraine. For 13 percent of respondents, this is “rather not”, and for 14 percent “not at all important”. Just under a fifth did not express an opinion (18 percent).

READ ALSO: ÖBB and City of Vienna extend free train travel for Ukrainian refugees

Calls for return of mask mandate as Covid numbers grow

The rising number of Covid-positive patients and staff shortages are already causing bottlenecks in many hospitals, according to Austria’s Covid Prognosis Consortium, which expects a 52 percent increase in Covid-related hospitalisations within the next two weeks, broadcaster ORF reported.

In view of the situation in the hospitals, experts are calling for the reintroduction of compulsory masks.

Virologist Dorothee von Laer from the Medical University of Innsbruck criticised the government, saying authorities were once again “too late” to take measures. “We are now at the last push to reintroduce compulsory masks indoors so that the omicron wave from spring is not repeated,” the virologist told Austrian media.

READ ALSO: Could Austria be spared another wave of Covid this winter?

Border controls with Slovakia to be extended

The border controls introduced last week with Slovakia will be extended, Austria’s Interior Ministry announced. The controls, originally supposed to end on Saturday, will now be extended by 20 days.

With this step, Austria follows its neighbouring country, the Czech Republic, which had announced that it would extend its border controls with Slovakia until 28 October.

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: One in four Austrian residents now of foreign origin

Number of people employed in trade and service sector rises

In the first half of 2022, the number of employment relationships increased by 2.1 percent year-on-year in the trade sector and by 9.3 percent in the services sector, according to Statistics Austria.

Hours worked increased in both the trade sector (+5.7 percent) and the service sector (+16.2 percent). Likewise, gross wages and salaries increased 8.0 percent in the trade sector and 15.6 percent in the services sector compared with the first half of 2021.

When making comparisons with the prior-year period, it should be noted that a large proportion of companies were affected to varying degrees by closures and other restrictions due to the measures taken against the Corona pandemic, Statistic Austria said.

READ ALSO: LATEST: What is the job market in Austria like right now?

Graz approves heating allowance of €340 euros

The Styrian Provincial Government has approved the heating cost subsidy 2022/2023 to assist low-income households with €340 support for all types of heating.

The assistance can be required by people with their primary residence in Styria since at least September 1st who do not receive housing assistance. The income limit for single persons is € 1,371 and for married couples or households, €2,057, 5min reported.

Applications can be submitted to the municipal offices, city offices or service centres and service points of the City of Graz. The subsidy campaign starts on October 1st 2022 and lasts until February 18th 2023.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Will Austria have enough gas for this winter?

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

Today, Austria will have a “Golden October weather”, meteorological institute ZAMG said.

After the dissipation of local, mostly shallow fog, sunny weather will prevail. From noon onwards, a few harmless cloud fields will temporarily appear between the Bregenzerwald and the Flachgau. The wind will be light to moderate from west to northwest.

In the afternoon, temperatures will range between 18C and 24C.

If you have any questions about life in Austria, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

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