Covid-19 in Austria: Follow the latest developments this week

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Covid-19 in Austria: Follow the latest developments this week
Each week The Local brings you the latest need-to-know updates on Covid-19 statistics, rules, and other news from Austria. File photo: CDC/Unsplash

Catch up on the latest Covid-19 news and current statistics in The Local's roundup as they happen throughout the week.


Overview of the Covid-19 situation in Austria

As of October 29th, the 7-day incidence rate (new infections per 100,000 people) was 317. Upper Austria has the highest incidence (464) followed by Salzburg (453), while Burgenland (210) and Vienna (196) have the lowest rates. 

A total of 48,416 people in Austria were currently positive for Covid-19 on October 29th, with 1,370 people being treated for the disease in hospital.

A total of 5,879,490 people (65.8 percent of the total population, and 74.3 percent of the population eligible for vaccination) have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose and 5,709,172  (64 percent) have received two doses as of October 29th.

Rules in place at the moment include an FFP2 mask mandate for everyone on public transport and in supermarkets and pharmacies, and proof of 3G (vaccination, recovery, or negative test) needed for entry to many businesses, with stricter rules in Salzburg, Upper Austria and Vienna. Find out about the rules in detail at the links below:


Friday, October 29th

A new 2021 record for the highest number of daily Covid cases was reached today, with 5,861 cases reported in the last 24 hours. 

Tyrol has announced a new set of stricter Covid-19 measures to come into force from November 8th, meaning unvaccinated people will no longer be able to access evening dining, bars or large events. Read more about the rule change here.

Unvaccinated people in Austria will receive a letter from their social insurance providers warning them of their higher risk of serious illness, following a parliamentary decision.

The tourism industry is short of around 20,000 workers in Austria ahead of the winter season. We spoke to experts to find out what's caused the problem and what the possible solutions are.

Thursday, October 28th

For the second day in a row, Austria has reported more than 4,000 daily new Covid cases. Until this week, the last time that happened was in November 2020. A total of 4,248 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours.

An employee who came to work despite being sent home as a suspected Covid-19 case was dismissed, and Austria's Supreme Court has confirmed this was fair, Die Presse reports. This case could set an important precedent ahead of the 3G rule for workplaces being introduced next week.

Vienna is distributing 80,000 self-test kits to kindergartens so that children aged four to six will have more chances to get tested for Covid-19. An English-language information leaflet on carrying out the tests with children aged four and up is available online from the city.

Austria's Corona Commission will update its 'traffic light' ranking of the states today, and we can expect the whole country except Vienna and Burgenland to turn red for 'very high risk'. What that means is that Austria's other seven states have a high incidence rate (current spread of the virus), though this does not automatically trigger new measures.


Wednesday, October 27th

Upper Austria has expanded its FFP2 mask mandate, meaning that everyone is required to wear the face coverings in non-essential retail stores and enclosed cultural venues like museums and libraries. This is already the case in Salzburg and Vienna too.

Austria has recorded more new Covid-19 cases than in any other 24-hour period so far in 2021: a total of 4,261. The last time the 4,000 threshold was passed was in November 2020.

Styria has become the latest region to tighten its Covid-19 measures, with a 2G rule for evening dining and FFP2 masks mandated in more settings, effective from November 8th. Read more about the rule change here.

Tuesday, October 26th

Demonstrations against Austria's Covid-19 restrictions gathered more than 2,000 participants in Vienna, with a march through the city centre and smaller gatherings throughout the capital. This also contributed to traffic jams, particularly at the main entrances to the city.

Exit tests were introduced for the town of Braunau, Upper Austria from Tuesday. This means that anyone who leaves the area will need either a negative Covid test or proof of vaccination or recovery. The same process is already in place in Melk and Scheibbs in Lower Austria, as well as three towns in Salzburg.


Monday, October 25th

Austria's Health Ministry has updated its Covid dashboard, making it possible to track the number of third doses of the Covid vaccine administered as well as first and second doses. We will start incorporating the new data into this roundup. 

The dashboard has also been updated with data showing clearly the protective effect of the Covid vaccination, as part of efforts to drive up Austria's sluggish vaccination rate.

The winter tourism industry has warned of struggles to hire enough staff, with the Chamber of Commerce warning that Austria could be short of 20,000 seasonal workers. Potential factors in the shortage include working conditions, national quotas on the number of non-EU workers who may come to Austria for jobs in the industry, and Austria's non-acceptance of certain vaccines administered abroad but not approved by the EU.

Board member of the JUFA hotels group Gerhard Wendl told the ORF broadcaster that the Styria region in particular was reliant in workers from nearby Hungary, where Russia’s Sputnik vaccine was used, and said the group was calling for this to be expected as proof of vaccination for seasonal workers.

And in case you missed it, on Friday evening the government announced plans for tougher restrictions in the event that Covid-19 has a severe impact on healthcare, including a potential lockdown for unvaccinated people.

At the newly introduced level 4 (500 intensive care beds occupied), negative tests would no longer be accepted as entry proof for restaurants, hotels and large events — also called the 2G rule (geimpft or genesen; vaccinated or recovered). And at level 5 (600 intensive care beds occupied), the country would introduce a lockdown for unvaccinated people.

How does Austria compare to its neighbours?

The chart below from Our World in Data shows how the number of reported daily Covid cases in Austria compares to those in neighbouring countries.

Do you have a question about Covid-19 in Austria? Contact our editorial team at [email protected] and they will get back to you and do their best to help.


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