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

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
The buildings of the Foreign and Interior ministries were lit up in red on Wednesday as part of a church campaign to raise awareness of persecution of Christians worldwide. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP
Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

Housing prices rose by 10 percent in the last year

Across the whole of Austria, the price of housing rose by 10.4 percent in the last 12 months, according to a new analysis from the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB). Prices have risen steadily over the last five quarters, although the second and third quarters of 2021 saw increases of 2.4 percent, down from 3.9 percent in the first quarter.

Inflation reaches 13-year high in October

October’s inflation rate was 3.7 percent in October, primarily driven by price rises in fuel and oil, according to Statistics Austria.

That’s up from 3.3 percent in September, and is the highest level for 13 years.

The price of heating oil rose by a huge 60.8 percent year-on-year, while the rise was 32.8 percent for fuel, 9.6 percent for electricity, 15.6 percent for gas, and 1.1 percent for food.

It will still be possible to call in sick from work next year

The board of insurance fund ÖGK has decided to make notification of sickness possible by telephone until the end of February 2022.

This measure was introduced to reduce the risk of infection, making it easier for people to take time off work when needed. It was originally set to expire at the end of this year but has been extended in response to the current high and rising infection rates.

Rules for seasonal workers are being relaxed

Seasonal workers from outside the EU who have already been employed for several seasons in Austria previously will face simplified rules following a parliamentary decision on Wednesday.

The worker needs to have been employed in the same industry (tourism, agriculture or forestry) for at least three months in each of the five calendar years 2017 to 2021 to be covered. They will then be able to register until December 2022 and will be eligible for seasonal work each year, even outside the quotas. 

According to Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger, this could increase the number of seasonal workers by about two thirds.

Vienna to tighten Covid measures tomorrow — and lockdown not ruled out

Vienna’s new tighter Covid measures, which The Local reported on last week, are set to come into effect from Friday and mayor Michael Ludwig said he could no longer rule out a general lockdown if the changes were insufficient to curb the fourth wave. However, he did say that he hoped the new set of rules would be enough. Those new rules are:

  • 2G+ (vaccination or recovery plus a negative test) for bars, clubs and events over 25 people
  • FFP2 mask mandate extended, required at all public indoor spaces including for staff in the catering industry and for restaurant guests except when seated

Also on Friday, we are expecting an update from the government on whether any new measures will be announced nationwide. 

READ ALSO: After locking down the unvaccinated, what next for Austria’s Covid measures?

Police carry out raids on addresses linked to the far right

Raids were carried out on Tuesday across seven of Austria’s nine regions, including 15 house searches and 11 interrogations, the Interior Ministry has said. Some of the 20 suspects are accused of hate speech or weapons violations, and police said they seized 20 firearms, 14 other weapons weapons along with ‘Nazi devotional items’, phones and computers. 

Austria tightens Covid rules for demonstrations

Under the latest update to Austria’s Covid regulation, FFP2 masks must be worn at demonstrations or gatherings with more than 50 people, regardless of whether the participants are vaccinated against Covid or have a recent negative test.

Previously the rule applied from more than 100 people, and only if not all participants had proof of 3G.

Austrian in intensive care after Ivermectin overdose

According to the ORF’s ZiB1 news programme, a woman in eastern Styria is receiving intensive care treatment following an overdose of Ivermectin, an anti-parasite medicine used in humans and animals which many anti-vaccine campaigners have championed as a treatment for Covid. Health authorities in the US, UK, and EU have warned against its use.


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