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

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

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Photo: Alex HALADA AFP

Austria records highest case total since May (again)

Austria on Friday morning recorded its highest number of cases within a 24-hour period since May, with 1,258 confirmed Covid infections. 

This is the third day in a row with more than 1,200 infections. 

One more person has died due to the virus, which puts the total of deaths since the start of the pandemic at 10,761. 

There are currently 301 people in intensive care as a result of the virus, which is an increase of 11 from the previous day. 

72 patients are in intensive care. 

Lambda variant detected in Austria for the first time

The highly contagious Lambda variant has been detected in Austria for the first time. 

The variant, which has mostly been detected in Latin America, was found in a passenger from Peru in the state of Lower Austria. 

State Health Councilor Ulrike Königsberger-Ludwig said the person has already recovered and the variant has not spread as there are no other cases. 

“Due to the rapid separation by the district administration, the man should not have infected anyone. There are no known consequences,” a spokesperson said. 

No more free self tests in Austria from November

Austria will discontinue the Covid self tests from November onwards, Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein confirmed on Friday. 

Known as self tests or living room tests, these have been distributed to pharmacies across the country. 

Mückstein indicated he would evaluate whether to continue offering free antigen tests at pharmacies across the country, with the government considering imposing a cost on these tests. 

Several countries such as Germany and Switzerland have phased out their free testing schemes as a means of encouraging people to get vaccinated. 

Intensive care doctors call upon Austrians to get vaccinated

The Austrian Society for Anaesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Care Medicine (ÖGARI) has called upon Austrians to get vaccinated, with the country’s jab rate lagging. 

Currently 57 percent of people in Austria are fully vaccinated, which ÖGARI says is far too low. 

“Today we are caring for 68 COVID-19 patients in the Austrian intensive care units, 290 are currently being treated as inpatients.”

“Everyone who gets seriously ill with COVID-19 is one too many. The risk can be avoided because whoever gets vaccinated is optimally protected against severe disease,” said Walter Hasibeder, president of ÖGARI. 

Hasibeder pointed out that ICU beds are taken up only by people who have not been vaccinated, with vaccinated people avoiding the worst of the virus.

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