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

Wiegensee autumn mountains Austria
This spot has been named the most beautiful in Austria. Here are the headlines you need to know in Austria today. Photo: Elvie Lins/Unsplash
Find out what's going on in Austria on Wednesday, with The Local's short roundup of today's news.

One of Austria’s largest ever forest fires is raging

In Lower Austria, around 115 hectares of forest have been destroyed in a huge forest fire that was not under control as of Wednesday morning. The fire is located in Hirschwang an der Rax, but firefighters said there was no danger of it spreading to residential areas. 

A total of 300 firefighters worked to fight the blaze, their work made difficult by steep vertical slopes in the area and strong winds. At least one firefighter was injured and taken to hospital. 

Mask mandate extended in Upper Austria

Starting from Friday, FFP2 masks will need to be worn by everyone in retail and cultural venues in the Upper Austria region. The same rule is already in place in Vienna and Salzburg, but elsewhere vaccinated people are exempt from the mask mandate in places like non-essential shops, museums and libraries. It comes as the region’s seven-day incidence rate (new cases reported per 100,000 people) rises and more intensive care beds are occupied, the vast majority by unvaccinated people suffering from Covid-19.

Exit controls have been in place in the municipality of Braunau since yesterday due to its high incidence rate, which means that people must show proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative test to leave the area. In a press conference on Tuesday, regional authorities warned that two other municipalities, Gmunden and Freistadt, could soon see the same measure introduced.

Thousands attend demonstrations against Covid restrictions

Around 2,000 people attended a march through Vienna’s city centre to protest Austria’s Covid-19 restrictions, while smaller gatherings took place in other parts of Vienna and in Bregenz. Protestors waved both Austrian and German flags, and some attendees wore neo-Nazi symbols.

Record high oil price drives up petrol costs

Right now, a litre of diesel costs between €1.32 and €1.45 in Vienna, according to motorists’ association ÖAMTC, after record high global oil prices are pushing up costs in Austria too.

Austria has been less affected than many European countries by the rising oil prices, so anyone travelling overseas for the half-term holiday should fill up their tank before crossing borders in order to save money.

Four sustain mild injuries in Vienna knife attack

Police arrested a man who attacked four passersby with a knife on Tuesday, saying they had ruled out a religious or political motive for the stabbing and that the man was mentally unwell. Fortunately, the four victims sustained only mild injuries, police said.

What’s the most beautiful place in Austria?

According to the 9 Plätze – 9 Schätze (9 places – 9 treasures) programme from ORF, the answer is Wiegensee in Vorarlberg (pictured at the top of this page). The second place went to Tyrol mountain village Gschnitztal while the charming town of Pichla in Styria, known for its traditional cottages and handicrafts, came third. The winning places were chosen by a jury and audience vote. Wiegensee can only be reached by a hike of around two hours, and was formed by glaciers melting.

Disagree with the choice? Email us at [email protected] or comment below to tell us what you think Austria’s prettiest spot is.


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