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

Austria's Ivona Dadic competes in the women's heptathlon long jump during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 5, 2021. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)
Austria's Ivona Dadic competes in the women's heptathlon long jump during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 5, 2021. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)
Find out what's going on in Austria on Thursday, with The Local's short roundup of today's news.

Covid-19 booster shots plan for autumn 

The Austrian government is starting to prepare for autumn with plans for booster shots against Covid-19. The Ministry of Health has told the broadcaster  ORF that the federal government will continue to be responsible for the distribution of vaccines, while the federal states will implement the campaigns.

It is currently assumed that a third jab should take place around nine months after the second vaccination, unless you were vaccinated with a single dose from the manufacturer Johnson & Johnson or have recovered from a case of Covid-19, in which case the booster shot will be the second jab.

Booster jabs should start to be given from mid-October, initially targeting high risk groups, who were first vaccinated in mid-January. The exact timing will be known when the European approval authority EMA makes its recommendations.

Austria now on UK green list

As The Local reported on Wednesday, the UK government has downgraded Austria and several other European countries to the lowest risk category.

The change will take effect on Sunday at 4:00 a.m. BST (5:00 a.m. CEST). Entrants from countries on the “green list” can enter the UK without quarantine, but must bring a negative test and take a PCR test on day two after entry. The new classification means that the mandatory quarantine is no longer required for people who have not yet been fully vaccinated.

A negative PCR test must be presented when returning to Austria. A ten-day quarantine is also required to come back to Austria as the UK is still considered a virus variant area. According to the Ministry of Health, the quarantine can only be ended with a negative molecular biological test (e.g. PCR test) from the fifth day after entry. 

READ MORE: UK adds Germany, Austria and Norway to green travel list

Olympic Committee ‘could have acted sooner’ against political interference by Belarus 

In an interview with Der Standard, President of the Austrian Olympic Committee Stoss said in hindsight the International Olympic Committee could have acted sooner against Belarusian political interference in sport, suggesting a change to the Olympic Charter could also be considered. The newspaper notes Belaurusian President Alexander Lukashenko has chaired the Belarusian Olympic Committee since 1997. The IOC only deposed him at the end of 2020.

READ MORE: Austria: Belarus Olympic athlete to head to Warsaw after Vienna stopover

Call for action on asylum seekers in Austria

Opposition centre-left Austrian SPÖ party chairman Pamela Rendi-Wagner is calling on the government, in view of the increasing number of asylum seekers in Austria, to “end their inactivity at EU level and to find common solutions”, the Austrian press agency APA reports. She sees an “urgent need for action” in the government, as solutions are needed “instead of show politics, division and escalation”, and said there should not be a repeat of 2015.

Person rescued from flooded Salzach river

A person had to be rescued from a sandbank in the middle of the flooded Salzach river on Friday morning following heavy rain. The rescue mission happened in Neukirchen am Großvenediger (Pinzgau) at around 3 a.m, broadcaster ORF reports. There were also further mudslides in Tyrol. 

Some parents concerned about test exemption for vaccinated schoolchildren and teachers

Following the announcements about back-to-school measures on Wednesday, some parents are concerned that vaccinated children and teachers will not be tested, as transmission of Covid-19 by vaccinated people is still possible, broadcaster ORF reports.

However, Christoph Drexler from the Federal Association of Parents’ Associations in Middle and High Schools (BEV) was satisfied that the measures seem to be justified by the facts and would meet the demands of parents to do everything possible to avoid school closings.

READ MORE: What will the rules be for children returning to school in Austria this autumn?

Could US open its borders to vaccinated foreigners? 

According to media reports in the New York Times, citing White House circles, the US government may open its borders to fully vaccinated foreigners entering the country. According to the reports, it has not yet been decided whether the US authorities would only accept vaccinations with preparations that are also approved in the USA, or use World Health Organisation approval as the benchmark.

So far, only vaccines from the manufacturers Moderna, Pfizer and Biontech as well as Johnson & Johnson have been approved in the USA. A far-reaching US entry ban for people from Europe has been in place since last year with the only exceptions being US citizens and a few other groups of people. In June, the European Union put the United States on the list of those third countries for which strict entry restrictions should no longer normally apply. The EU is therefore also calling on Washington to swiftly lift the restrictions.

Seven day incidence is 37.6

The seven-day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 37.6. The number is highest in Vienna (50.7) and Salzburg (48.9). The value is lowest in Burgenland (20.3) and Lower Austria (27.3).

Young people to be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccine in Styria
Young people will be prioritised in Styria’s vaccination campaign, to ensure as many are vaccinated as possible before school starts again in six weeks, broadcaster ORF reports. Vaccinations will be carried out by general practitioners, during special campaigns and during vaccination days until autumn. The next one will take place on Saturday, at all Styrian test centres. The Moderna vaccine will be used. Twelve and 13-year-olds must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.


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