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

Two wild boar cubs (Sus scrofa) are pictured on October 11, 2008 in the Lainzer Tiergarten, in Vienna 
There are concerns that a national park in Upper Austria could become a 'wild boar paradise'. (Photo by DIETER NAGL/AFP)
Find out what's going on in Austria on Friday, with The Local's short roundup of today's news.

Covid-19 cluster in children’s hospital

Ten employees in the St. Anna Children’s Hospital in Vienna have been infected with Covid-19, including two employees on cancer wards, broadcaster ORF reports. The hospital said elective operations had to be postponed due to the outbreak. The majority of those affected were vaccinated, according to a spokesperson.

A crisis summit will be held on Friday with the federal government and regional leaders to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic. There has been a sharp rise in infections in Austria. On Thursday, the seven-day incidence (the number of new infections in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants) reached 216, its highest level since April 7th.

Salzburg gets an annual public transport season ticket for 365 euros

An annual season ticket costing just one euro a day is to become available for people living in the state of Salzburg. A similar ticket has been on sale for several years in Vienna.

The 365-euro annual ticket for all public transport in Salzburg will be sold from January 1st, 2022. The ticket will also be valid in commuter regions just outside the federal state’s borders. The federal and state governments will officially announce the new ticket on Friday, broadcaster ORF reports. 

READ MORE: 365 Ticket: Everything you need to know about Vienna’s cheap annual metro pass

Austria’s opposition chairwoman Rendi-Wagner calls for help with energy bills for low income households 

The opposition centre-left SPÖ party chairwoman Pamela Rendi-Wagner has called on Austria’s government and the new Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) to do more to help poorer households manage in response to rapidly rising energy prices.

Rendi-Wagner referred to the EU Commission, which had recommended a “toolbox” at the EU summit in Brussels, which included tax breaks, subsidies and payments for low-income households. The opposition SPÖ party has also called for VAT to be halved on electricity and gas for one year  in order to slow down the rise in electricity and heating costs.

It also believes a one-time federal winter subsidy of €300 for low-income households could help to offset the inflation.

Christmas market planning underway

Vorarlberg has started planning its Christmas markets, and has different ideas on how to manage the new 3G requirement (meaning people must show they have tested negative for Covid-19 or have recovered or been vaccinated against the disease).

In Dornbirn, Feldkirch and Bludenz, food and drinks will only be sold in the outside dining areas of restaurants and cafes, where checks can be made. However, at the Advent market on Kornmarktplatz in Bregenz, there will be fenced off “gastronomy zones”, where people can buy food and drink. Access to these zones will only be possible by checking “3-G” proof and registration, broadcaster ORF reports. 

In Styria, different approaches can also be seen. In Graz, people will be able to shop without showing 3G proof, but will have to produce it to eat or drink at the Christmas markets. In Mariazell, it will be possible to register 3G proof centrally, and be given an wristband. Different colours will relate to different days. The wristband will be used as proof you are vaccinated, recovered or have tested negative for Covid-19, allowing people to relax and enjoy the markets. Both Graz and Mariazell say they will have fewer stands than usual and aim for a “relaxed” atmosphere, ORF reports. 

READ MORE: KEY POINTS: Austria announces new rules for winter tourism

Call for reform to government funded advertising in the media

The woman behind an anti-corruption referendum in Austria has called for major reforms to how the government spends money on supporting Austria’s media outlets.

Former politician Heide Schmidt told Der Standard newspaper that the media was given under ten million euros a year in general funding, whereas the government’s advertising spend was 200 million euros a year. She said: “This disparity is an invitation to abuse. We need sensible media funding that is linked to quality criteria and nothing else.”

Half of the Austrian population is overweight

Every second person in Austria is overweight, broadcaster ORF reports. Young Austrians aged 14 to 25 are the most at risk, according to the broadcaster, and the Covid-19 pandemic has made the situation worse. In a European comparison, Malta, Latvia, Hungary, Great Britain, Germany and Austria have the most overweight people, the broadcaster said.

Hunters demand shooting of wild boars in Upper Austrian national park

Hunters are demanding more wild boars are shot in the Kalkalpen National Park in Upper Austria, after the pandemic led to fewer being killed.

The protected area threatens to become a “wild boar paradise”, according to the State Hunters’ Master Herbert Sieghartsleitner, broadcaster ORF reports. He said he was worried about African swine fever and the loss of habitat for chamois and mountain hares due to global warming.


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