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

Austria's Jakob Schubert approaches the top to win the men's sport climbing lead final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo on August 5, 2021. (Photo by - / POOL / AFP)
Austria's Jakob Schubert approaches the top to win the men's sport climbing lead final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo on August 5, 2021. (Photo by - / POOL / AFP)
Find out what's going on in Austria on Friday, with The Local's short roundup of today's news.

Austria’s free tests will cost €1.8 billion by the end of the year

Austria’s extensive free testing will cost up to €1.8 billion euros by the end of the year according to the Ministry of Health, broadcaster ORF reports. The figure does not include school and company tests. Hardly any other country tests as much for Covid-19 as Austria.

This year, as of Thursday, Ministry of Health figures show 68.2 million tests were carried out at home or in test streets. There were also 11.7 million tests in pharmacies, 5.6 million tests in companies and 35.9 million school tests. The costs per test are different, in pharmacies they are 25 euros per piece.

Vienna will continue free testing, promises mayor

As The Local reported on Thursday, the Austrian Medical Chamber is calling for an end to free Covid-19 tests in the coming months as the vaccination roll-out continues. However, the Mayor of Vienna, has promised in a Facebook post that free testing will remain in Vienna, citing the risk of virus mutations and saying the vaccination rates were not high enough to justify getting rid of free testing. 

READ MORE: Could free Covid-19 tests be coming to an end in Austria?  

Efforts made to increase vaccinations in Salzburg, Styria and Carinthia

Efforts are being made to raise the levels of vaccinations across states. In Salzburg, student representatives are calling for school children to have their own vaccination centres and two PCR tests per week, broadcaster ORF reports.

In Styria, more than 600 people were vaccinated as part of a vaccination campaign for asylum seekers, and a hotel in Carinthia, called the  “Hochschober” hotel on the Turracher Höhe, will pay its team a bonus of €300 if the vaccination rate is 90 percent. Those who do not get vaccinated are tested daily, broadcaster ORF reports.

Snake attack in Vienna

A snake attack has happened once more in Vienna. This time, a corn snake entered a ground floor apartment through a window and bit a man on his foot while he was sitting at his dining table. The snake attack took place in Hetzendorfer Straße in Vienna-Meidling on Monday. The man called the police. Fortunately, corn snakes are not poisonous, broadcaster ORF reports.

READ MORE: Why do snakes keep appearing in Austrian toilets? 

Seven day incidence is 37.5

The seven-day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 37.5. The number is highest in Salzburg (50.5) and Vorarlberg (50.1). The value is lowest in Burgenland (18.6) and Lower Austria (26.3).

Tourism industry struggling to keep employees

Only six out of ten employees in tourism in Austria stay in the industry, according to Der Standard newspaper . This means that innkeepers and hoteliers have problems finding suitable staff in sufficient numbers. According to AMS figures, this situation in the industry is nothing new and was already evident well before the pandemic.

Asylum applications at highest level since 2017

The number of asylum applications in Austria in the first half of the year reached its highest level since 2017, according to the official statistics of the Ministry of the Interior, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports.

The number of applications from January to June increased by almost 86% compared to the same period in 2020. Meanwhile, according to APA, the Interior Ministry said Austria is not planning to stop deportations to Afghanistan.


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