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

Emma Midgley
Emma Midgley - [email protected]
Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Austria's new Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (R) and Austria's vice-chancellor Werner Kogler (L) are in the focus of photographers as they attend their weekly ministerial meeting at the chancellery in Vienna, Austria on October 13, 2021. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

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


Parents starting to vaccinate under 12s in Austria

Parents are vaccinating their children aged under 12 against Covid-19 before the vaccine is approved by Austria’s health authority, broadcaster ORF reports. According to data released to the broadcaster by the Ministry of Health, in the first week of October, 1,566 children under the age of twelve were vaccinated in Austria, and 304 of them are now fully immunized. The numbers are increasing, in mid-September there were 674 children, 156 of whom had already been vaccinated twice. 


Parents are motivated to vaccinate their young children because they are concerned about the school environment and the risk of catching Covid-19, or because someone in the family is vulnerable to the disease, the broadcaster reports. However, Austria’s vaccination board (NIG), does not currently recommend vaccinating this age group. 

Pollster released after arrest by corruption office 

The pollster Sabine Beinschab, who was arrested in connection with the ÖVP corruption affair surrounding the party and former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been released. The Economic and Corruption Prosecutor's Office (WKStA) told the Austrian Press Association (APA) that it did not make an application to take her into custody, broadcaster ORF reports.

READ MORE: First arrest made in Austrian government probe

Austria’s budget criticised over lack of funds for childcare and fighting poverty

Finance Minister Blümel has presented the federal 2022 budget, calling it a “sustainable budget policy” following the pandemic, Die Presse reports . The governing parties hailed the budget, whilst the opposition criticised Blümel’s lack of vision. According to the Wiener Zeitung newspaper, the President of the Trade Union Federation (ÖGB), Wolfgang Katzian, believes the government missed an opportunity to change an imbalance in the tax system, while Chamber of Labor (AK) President Renate Anderl saw positives in the budget's climate measures, but was disappointed by the lack of funds for expanding childcare and fighting poverty.

READ MORE: Who's who? The key players in Austrian politics

Committee of inquiry set up to investigate corruption in the  ÖVP Party  

Opposition parties SPÖ, FPÖ and Neos have agreed on a new committee of inquiry into the ÖVP corruption that has come to light in recent weeks. According to ORF, during a joint press conference of the three parties yesterday, SPÖ MP Kai Jan Krainer said the purpose of the inquiry would be to bring about clarity quickly.


Read more

Middle Austria is coronavirus ‘problem child’

Middle Austria is now seeing the highest rates of Covid-19 infections, with the federal states of Salzburg and Upper Austria being classified at the highest risk regions (red for “high risk”).  Vorarlberg and Tyrol as well as Vienna and Burgenland in the east are now classified by the Coronavirus traffic light commission as “yellow” or  “medium risk”. In the rest of the country there is a high or very high risk (orange or red).

Burgenland currently has the lowest infection rates of all federal states according to the Commission, though once the figures are adjusted for risk factors, Vorarlberg comes out as performing the best in Austria. However, only Vienna shows a downward 14-day trend. Infections went up in Burgenland, Styria, Upper Austria and Salzburg.

Vienna’s ICUs are the most under pressure in the country, whereas in Burgenland there are currently zero patients with Covid-19 in intensive care, broadcaster ORF reports. 


READ MORE: What is Austria’s new five colour covid traffic light system? 

New  SMS emergency warnings system to be introduced

From 2021, it will be possible for people in Austria to receive SMS alerts on their mobile phones to alert them in the event of a disaster. A new telecommunications law allowing this was passed in the Austrian National Council on Wednesday, broadcaster ORF reports. The law implements an EU directive that provides for an EU-wide uniform warning system for crises and disasters. It will also become possible to send a text to the emergency number 112. 


Nazi era art to be displayed in Vienna

An exhibition is to be created in Vienna’s Wien Museum of around a 1,000 pieces of controversial Nazi art which has remained in storage since a  “Art and Dictatorship” exhibition in the Künstlerhaus in 1994.

The exhibition will look at the art scene in Vienna before the Anschluss, and once Vienna became part of the German Reich. The Nazi regime banned artists with Jewish ancestry or the wrong political background and elevated others to the position of "Gottbegnadeten" (God gifted), broadcaster ORF reports. Artists favoured by the regime were spared military service and given access to commissions. The exhibition will also explore the legacy of Nazi art in Vienna.  



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