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

The FFP2 mask mandate has been extended in some parts of Tyrol. Photo: Clemens Volgger/Unsplash
Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

30,000 daily Covid infections expected next week after all-time high

Austria reached a record-breaking 17,000 new cases of Covid-19 recorded on Wednesday, in line with the estimates of the Covid Forecasting Consortium.

The trend is expected to keep climbing and reach 30,000 new cases per day next week, with an increase in the number of hospital admissions nearer the end of the month.

That would mean a nationwide incidence rate (new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days) of up to 2,500, and higher rates of around 3,000 in Vienna, Tyrol and Salzburg. Those three regions already have rates above 1,000 while the current national incidence rate is 842.

Austria to turn red again on Covid traffic light map

Today Austria’s Covid Commission will give their weekly ‘traffic light’ update, and the whole country is expected to turn ‘red’ or ‘very high risk’ again, based on the current numbers.

At the moment, Styria, Burgenland and Carinthia remain orange or ‘high risk’.

The Commission’s assessment uses a ‘risk number’ based on a range of factors including incidence rates and hospital capacity, traceability of infection chains and the test positivity rate in each region.

Tyrol extends FFP2 mandate outdoors

FFP2 masks will need to be worn outside on several busy streets in Ischgl (Dorfstrasse, Silvrettaplatz and on the Fimbabahnweg) and in many public areas of St. Anton am Arlberg (including in its pedestrianised zone, on large parts of the Dorfstraße and at bus terminals among other places).

The mandate applies between 8am and midnight, and comes into effect today.

How are 2G checks in retail going?

Police carried out 33,000 checks on the new law requiring shops to check customers’ 2G proof on its first day, Tuesday. A total of 180 violations were reported, according to the Interior Ministry.

Expanded test options in Austria’s kindergartens

While schools in Austria carry out regular Covid testing, that’s not been the case for younger children. But there are tests available for kindergartners, although they remain voluntary and the offer depends on your region.

In Vienna, the Alles Gurgelt at-home PCR tests can be used by under-5s and this has been encouraged since the autumn, with over 17,000 tests carried out in the kindergarten age group just last weekend, Der Standard reports. The same tests are available in Tyrol.

In most other regions, either only antigen or both antigen and PCR tests are available, sometimes at the kindergartens themselves. When the kindergartens carry out the tests, parental consent is necessary.

Austrian Airlines plans to introduce 2G rule for pilots and flight personnel

The rule will apply from March 1st, after which staff without proof of 2G will no longer be given assignments by the airline, Salzburger Nachrichten reports.

No grace period for Brits after December 31st deadline to apply for post-Brexit residence

British nationals who were living in Austria under EU law before the end of 2020 were given one year to apply for their Article 50 residency cards.

Asked by APA if there would be any grace period for anyone who missed the December 31st, 2021 deadline, the Interior Ministry said that in principle there would not be — though they did say that if there was a “reasonable reason” for the delay, for example serious illness, it is possible a residence permit could be issued late. Anyone affected should contact the authorities as soon as possible.

It is hard to tell the exact number of people who may have missed the deadline. According to figures from Statistics Austria, 11,529 British citizens were living in Austria at the beginning of 2021, and by the end of that year 8,886 had applied for their Article 50 residence card. That does not necessarily mean the remainder are unable to stay, as some may have another right of residence in Austria, for example EU residence from a different country.

If you’re concerned you may have missed the deadline, the volunteer-run British in Austria group offers advice to affected Brits. You can also contact The Local by emailing [email protected]

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