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

Boating enthusiasts sail on the Old Danube in Vienna. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Boating enthusiasts sail on the Old Danube in Vienna. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Find out what's going on in Austria on Monday, with The Local's short roundup of today's news.

President of Austria appeals to public to be vaccinated

Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen has called on the population to get immunised against the coronavirus: in a video posted on Facebook and YouTube on Sunday evening.

“It’s still summer. A beautiful summer,” said the Federal President in the video, which shows scenes from his encounters over the past few weeks. You meet friends and relatives, “maybe even grandma and grandpa”, and do sports.

It’s a “real summer feeling,” he says. But autumn and winter are definitely coming, says Van der Bellen, “and what’s next?” He points out the vaccination is just a small jab, and will protect others as well as yourself.

Vienna districts with younger people and more migrants have lower vaccination rates

An analysis of different districts in Vienna shows that areas in the city with predominantly young people and a relatively high proportion of migrant populations have low vaccination rates.

The number of fully immunised is high in places where academics and older people live, such as Neubau, Hietzing and Alsergrund, broadcaster ORF reports.

The vaccination quota there is more than 60 percent.

In total, Vienna has a vaccination rate of 59.9 percent of people having received their first dose. Burgenland has the highest rate with 68.6 percent, Upper Austria the lowest with 56.8 percent.

Plan to slash numbers of car commuters 

The City of Vienna wants to halve the number of people who commute into the capital by car by 2030, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports.

According to Statistics Austria, over 270,000 people commute to Vienna every day, and two thirds of them come by car. The paper says the Austrian Transport Club (VCÖ) estimates 2.8 million tonnes of CO 2 are generated on the way to work throughout Austria.

However, the entire eastern region of Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland are not included in Austria’s latest 1-2-3 national ticket strategy, which was supposed to make it easier to commute by rail, the paper reports, commenting this leaves many questions unanswered.

READ MORE: 1-2-3 Ticket: Austria’s nationwide unlimited rail pass available from October

Children to be offered help with mental health

Austria’s Health Minister, Wolfgang Mückstein, says the mental health of children and adolescents has deteriorated during the pandemic. “One in three children and one in three adolescents currently has problems with mental health,” said the minister.

He says it will be possible to provide 20,000 more units of therapy per year through social security. He is also trying to create easier access to psychosocial services, for example through psychotherapy and telephone hotlines.

In July, an additional 30 million euros were set aside for more psychological support for young people in various forms, the Wiener Zeitung reports. 

Chancellor re-elected chairman

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been re-elected chairman of the ÖVP (Austrian People’s Party) with 99.4%, up from 98.7% four years ago.

Before his reelection, ORF reports Kurz outlined five areas which he believes are “really important for the country”: relief, work, greening, digitisation and migration.

Kurz swore the ÖVP will have a restrictive migration policy, the German Die Welt newspaper reports. “For a democracy, it is extremely important who lives here and what the people believe in” he said.  

Austria’s opposition party calls for action on Afghanistan

Austria’s opposition centre-left SPÖ party has convened the Foreign Policy Council on Monday because of the situation in Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg will talk to MPs this afternoon and explain what policy the government wants to pursue in the Afghanistan crisis.

The SPÖ is calling for a continuation of the evacuation campaign for Austrians, protection zones in neighbouring countries, an Afghanistan conference and the admission of particularly threatened people, broadcaster ORF reports.


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