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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.

Sunny weather is forecast for Friday (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Sunny weather is forecast for Friday (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Burgenland classified as ‘low risk’, Upper Austria is ‘problem child’

Austria’s corona traffic light commission of experts, which gives forecasts on how the Covid-19 pandemic is developing, has re-classified the state of Burgenland as a “low risk” federal state for the first time in six weeks.

The commission rates Styria and Tyrol as “medium risk”, and all other federal states retain a “high risk”. 

Against the wishes of the federal state of Styria, the large majority of the commission voted to keep the entire federal territory at level two in the school sector. This means unvaccinated students have to continue testing three times a week, although there is no compulsory test for those who have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19.

All children and adolescents must continue to wear masks outside of the class, school events such as excursions can take place, parents’ evenings take place in person, but with a mask requirement.

The trend is positive across the entire country apart from in Upper Austria, Der Standard newspaper reports. This federal state has the six districts with the highest incidences, mostly located in the Innviertel. Among the 20 districts with the most new infections, there are eleven Upper Austrian ones.

The committee says the stress on Austria’s health system is still concerning. As of September 28th, 11.4 percent of the intensive care units were occupied by Covid-19 patients. By October 13th, the Covid forecast consortium predicts an increase to 12.3 percent.

Burgenland wants to lift all pandemic measures in November

In Burgenland, Governor Hans Peter Doskozil is already thinking about easing many measures from November 11th, if the state reaches its goal to have vaccinated 80 percent of those eligible for the jab.

Then a “gradual easing” until all measures (including mask requirements and 3G) are lifted should follow, Doskozil told the daily newspaper “Heute”

The state only needs to carry out a further 4,626 first vaccinations to reach this target, which will also mean prizes from its ‘vaccination lottery’ will be released.

It is believed Burgenland’s vaccination lottery has convinced 5,000 people to be jabbed. Around 70 percent of the 15 to 24 year olds in the state are now vaccinated. 

Far right FPÖ politician ‘pelted with cake’

The Vienna far right FPÖ party councillor Toni Mahdalik was hit with a cake by a climate activist on Thursday after a press conference, the broadcaster ORF reports. The attack took place at  a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony ahead of construction starting on a controversial tunnel for traffic under the Lobau nature reserve.

The councillor did not file a complaint, but advised the activist to “learn not to throw away food”. According to the police, activists also climbed the roof of the venue and set off pyrotechnics, which caused damage to the roof. 

Reaction to Austria’s new annual public transport ticket 

From Friday, as The Local reported on Thursday Austria’s new country-wide public transport ticket will be available in advance at a special  price of €949.

A special annual season ticket will be created for Lower Austria and Burgenland on October 26th, a joint regional ticket, the “VOR Klimaticket Region”, will cost €550 per year. In Vienna, the annual ticket from Wiener Linien stays at 365 euros. 

READ MORE: Austria’s nationwide public transport ‘climate ticket’ now available

There has been some criticism of Austria’s new country-wide public transport ticket, according to Der Standard.

The traffic expert at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, Sebastian Kummer, says while it makes taking public transport more attractive, the price of the new ticket is “very high” for the taxpayer, comparing it to an equivalent Swiss ticket which costs 3000 euros or the Deutsche Bahncard 100 at a price of around 4,500 euros.

He says the new ticket will be little use for rural areas, it will mean money is diverted away from improving bus and rail networks and the lower cost of travel may create “unnecessary traffic” because trips are undertaken that would otherwise be avoided for cost reasons.

Transport associations of the federal states say they fear even more overcrowding in trains on well-used routes such as the Südbahn, according to the newspaper.

The most common error made by schoolchildren in German is muddling up “das” and “dass”

The German language is changing, according to a report by Der Standard newspaper, which mentions new phrases used by the younger generation, such as “Ich fühl’ dich” (I feel you) and “Ich hab’ Geistesblitz” (I have a brainwave).

However, the most common error is muddling up the words “das” and “dass”. Modern students have a larger vocabulary but are less confident with spelling than previous generations, the newspaper reports. 

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