Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Find out what's going on in Austria on Wednesday, with The Local's short roundup of today's news.
PCR and antigen tests valid for shorter period in Vienna
Changes have come into force for the validity of PCR and antigen tests in Vienna. From Wednesday, a rapid antigen test that is carried out in a test street or in a pharmacy can only be used for 24 hours instead of the previous 48 hours. For PCR tests, the validity is reduced from 72 to 48 hours.
Antigen and PCR tests carried out on children under the age of twelve will still be valid for 48 and 72 hours respectively, broadcaster ORF reports.
Health Minister hints at pandemic plans for autumn
Austria’s Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein will unveil a plan to fight Covid-19 infections in the coming days, saying his first goal is to avoid closures. According to the Austrian Heute newspaper, he has suggested making masks mandatory indoors, shortening the validity period for antigen tests to 24-hours, as has just come into force in Vienna, and making it easier to get vaccinated without an appointment.
He is currently in a "final vote with the coalition partner," said the minister, but could not say when they would be concluded.
More people in hospital with Covid-19
More people are ending up in hospital due to Covid-19 in Austria. On Tuesday there were 510 patients in hospital, an increase of 13 percent (57 patients) within 24 hours compared to Monday. There are 112 more patients in hospital than a week ago; 130 people are being cared for in intensive care units, eight more than on Monday and 46 more than Tuesday last week, broadcaster ORF reports.
In Carinthia, the intensive care bed coordinator Rudolf Likar told ORF the situation is currently the same as the state experienced in November 2020. Eight Covid-19 patients are in intensive care units, and operations may have to be postponed. "It's worse than we thought," he is quoted as saying.
A third of all Covid-19 infections are from travel
People in Austria are most likely to catch Covid-19 at home or while travelling, according to the latest statistics. Of the 5912 corona infections that were detected in Austria in the week from 9th to 15th August, almost a third (32.1 percent) were infected while traveling, the Kronen Zeitung newspaper.
The paper notes that arts and culture make up just 0.7 percent of cases. Asymptomatic infections make up 29 percent of cases.
People asked to test after visitor to spa tests positive for Covid-19
Everyone who went to a thermal spa in Styria on Saturday evening is being asked to take a PCR test and try not to meet up with anyone after someone visiting Bad Waltersdorf tested positive. Infection was possible in the period between 17:30 and 22:00 on Saturday, August 28th, broadcaster ORF reports.
Inflation at its highest for ten years
The inflation rate for August 2021 is expected to be 3.1 percent in Austria, according to Statistics Austria's flash estimate. This is the highest value since December 2011, said Statistics Austria General Director Tobias Thomas on Tuesday, the Standard newspaper reports. "The current high inflation is due in particular to the low energy and fuel prices last summer and the current price increase for air travel," he added.
Kurz travels to Germany and meets Merkel
Austrian Chancellor Kurz has made a final visit to Germany during Chancellor Angela Merkel’s tenure. The Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports the pair focused on the situation in Afghanistan, as Kurz emphasised once again that Austria will not take any Afghan refugees.
The Wiener Zeitung also notes Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer emphasised once again that Austria will not take any more refugees and that he found it "completely inappropriate to talk about resettlement" while Austria had “such a high burden of irregular migration”.