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: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Austria's foreign minister predicts EU oil embargo in a few days, Red Cross criticises Austria for not meeting UN aid targets, horse-drawn carriages could disappear from Vienna and more news on Tuesday.

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

Austria’s foreign minister expects EU oil embargo decision ‘in next few days’

The EU has put its oil embargo of Russia on hold due to Hungary requesting billions of euros in exchange for its support. Austria’s Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) has said he expects an agreement “in the next few days”.

A “certain need for discussion” is “very clear”, and not all states are equally badly affected, said Schallenberg, according to broadcaster ORF. He said the EU should appear united as “Russia is watching us”. 

Red Cross criticises Austria for not meeting UN targets for development spending

The Red Cross has criticised Austria’s federal government for not spending more on development aid. In addition, Austria has not decided its development programme for 2022-24, although this should have been in place by the end of 2021, broadcaster ORF reports.

Despite emergency aid to Ukraine of 42 million euros and the increase in the foreign disaster fund to 60 million euros, Austria is “still far away” from the UN target of spending 0.7 percent of its economic power on development cooperation. According to the Red Cross’s Secretary General Michael Opriesnig, Austria is currently at 0.31 percent of gross national income (GNI). 

‘Out of date’: Possible ban on Vienna’s horse drawn carriages 

The debate over Vienna’s ‘fiaker’ or horse drawn carriages, has begun again as temperatures in the capital have started to head above 30 degrees. Currently the horses are not allowed to work when the temperatures rise over 35 degrees, and there are plans to lower the upper temperature requirement to 30 degrees.

Animal protection minister Johannes Rauch (Greens), wants to ban the horse drawn carriages from the city, and told ORF’s Vienna Today programme that he thought the horse-drawn carriages in the city were “a bit out of date”.

Violence protection centres ask for right to exchange data without consent of client

A violence prevention centre in Salzburg, called “Jugend am Werk” is calling for the rules on data sharing to be changed after a 41-year-old stabbed his ex wife on Friday in Piesendorf (Pinzgau).

The man had been in contact with Jugend am Werk after his victim reported him, and he was banned from entering her home. The ban required him to take part in a mandatory six-hour violence prevention consultation and the 41-year-old had an initial interview at the advice centre in Zell am See on May 4th. 

The consultant had suggested the centre should take part in a a security police case conference to discuss the 41-year-old and had talked about it with the local police, however, as he did not consent to his data being released, it was not possible for the  victim protection institutions to meet to discuss his case, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Scheme to provide free period products is in high demand

A pilot scheme called Rote Box (red box) providing free tampons and pads in four locations in the Vienna Brigittenau district has reported much greater demand than expected for the sanitary products. The district of Vienna is one in which around 20 percent of girls are at risk of poverty. 

A total of 80,604 tampons and 94,960 pads were distributed via the boxes after being donated by a drugstore chain. The city is now examining whether and how the “Red Box” project can be continued, broadcaster ORF reports.

Work starts on Vienna’s controversial new city highway

After long  protests, at which protestors camped out for months, the construction of the controversial city highway in the Donaustadt district of Vienna has finally begun, broadcaster ORF reports. One protest camp still remains behind the Hirschstetten Gardens.

Excavators have started driving along the future route, while environmental activists are planning even more protests in the aim of stalling construction. The Lobau Bleibt protest website says further action is planned on May 25th.