Today in Austria: A round-up of the latest news on Tuesday

Police guarding a memorial to the victims of the terror attack that took place in Vienna
Police guarding a memorial to the victims of the terror attack that took place in Vienna a year ago today. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP
Find out what's going on today in Austria today, with The Local's five-minute roundup of the news you need to know.

Vienna marks one year since terror attack

Today, Austria remembers the four people killed and others injured in the November 2nd terror attack when a gunman targeted civilians in the busy city centre shortly before a lockdown due to the pandemic was to begin.

A temporary memorial to the victims will be unveiled later today near the Ruprechtskirche in central Vienna, near where the shooting took place. 

The attacker, a 20-year-old supporter of terror group Isis who had been sentenced to jail time for attempting to travel to Syria to fight with the group and was released early, was shot dead by police on the scene.

Exit checks introduced to more municipalities

Austria’s Covid incidence rate continues to rise, prompting more regions to require proof of 3G (vaccination, recovery or a negative test) in order to leave particularly high-incidence areas.

In Upper Austria, the municipalities Perg, Steyr-Land and Vöcklabruck join Braunau, Freistadt, Gmunden and Grieskirchen in introducing exist tests, while in Lower Austria Waidhofen an der Ybbs saw the measure introduced after it was previously brought in for four other areas (Scheibbs, Melk, Lilienfeld and Amstetten).

The decision to introduce exit checks is based on whether the municipalities have a low vaccination rate and a high spread of the virus.

Austria steps up ‘gurgle tests’ and contact tracing

Across the country, broader measures to fight the spread of the virus are being brought in.

From Tuesday, people in Styria will be able to use self PCR tests under the Alles Gurgelt (everyone gargles) scheme that has been used in Vienna. The tests are available for pick-up from pharmacies and branches of the Spar supermarket, and residents can use up to eight of the tests per month. Since October 27th, these free tests have been available in Salzburg too.

PCR tests are being stepped up nationwide after the Health Minister said that Austria’s 3G rule would become 2.5G from mid-November, meaning that only PCR tests and not antigen tests are considered valid proof of a negative test. This is already in place in Vienna.

And contact tracing efforts are being strengthened, with 60 soldiers from the Austrian army assisting with efforts to call contacts of positive Covid cases. In October, almost 40,000 people were told to quarantine nationwide. Unvaccinated people need to quarantine for ten days after contact with a positive test (though they can end it after five days with a negative test) while fully vaccinated people are generally told to reduce their social contacts but do not need to quarantine.

Strong economic growth forecast for Austria

That’s according to the Austrian Institute for Economic research (WIFO) which predicts annual growth of an average of 2.6 percent between 2022 and 2026, and a fall in the unemployment rate from 9.9 percent in 2020 to 6.1 percent in 2026.

According to WIFO’s forecast, Austria will see a stronger economic recovery than the EU average.

Vorarlberg to offer booster vaccine to all residents

As we reported yesterday, Vienna began its rollout of third doses of the Covid vaccine on Monday, to people who received their second dose at least six months earlier. Later in the day, Vorarlberg followed suit.

People of any age can book an appointment for their booster dose as long as this will be at least six months after their most recent Covid vaccine.

As of Tuesday morning, less than 62 percent of the region’s population had received two doses. A total of 8,268 had received a third dose, mostly those who belong to risk groups.

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