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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

Mountains Austria
Catch up on the latest headlines from Austria today. Photo: Midas Hofstra/Unsplash

Will Austria’s Omicron soon start to flatten?

The number of new cases is still rising in Austria, with the seven-day incidence rate topping 2,000 for the first time ever yesterday.

The WHO noted this week that globally, the Covid incidence rate is rising less rapidly and is starting to even out. 

Austria doesn’t appear to be at this point quite yet, and the Omicron variant began spreading here slightly later than in some other European countries. The chart below from Our World in Date shows the case rate in Austria since the start of the year.

Covid booster gives 99% protection against death from Covid, Austrian study shows

The study is in line with international data, and was based on analysis by Gesundheit Österreich GmbH (GÖG).

Out of approximately 5,600 deaths since the first completed series of vaccinations in February 2021, most deaths (around 4,500) were people who were not fully vaccinated. A total of 95 people died of Covid after receiving three vaccine doses, most of them aged over 75 and therefore in the age category most vulnerable to the disease.

The study showed similar effectiveness of three vaccine doses in all age groups. Among over-75s, the researchers recorded 0.238 deaths per 100,000 observation days among people who were triple vaccinated, compared to 22.56 deaths per 100,000 observation days in the unvaccinated group. This means the vaccine effectiveness rate is 99 percent.

Students protest about school leaving exam requirements

Rallies are planned by student groups today in Vienna and in some other cities across the country, to protest the requirement to carry out Austria’s school leaving exam (Matura) in person.

In 2021 and 2020, it was not compulsory to carry out the usual oral element of the exam, but that has been reintroduced for this year.

The protests are not organised by the national student union, but by a group called ‘Action by Critical Students’ (AKS) affiliated with the centre-left SPÖ party.

More deaths but fewer injuries on Austria’s mountains last year

The data comes from the Austrian Board of Trustees for Alpine Safety (ÖKAS), which recorded 272 deaths in mountain accidents last year, a rise of 11 from the previous year, although total injuries fell by almost 3,000 to reach 4,961.

The activity associated with the most fatalities in 2021 was hiking/mountaineering with 111 fatalities, followed by  mountain biking with 16 associated deaths.

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Covid-19 numbers on the rise, wages shrinking as cost of living increases, Finance Ministry official online communication and more news from Austria on Friday.

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

Austria’s Covid commission alerts to 70,000 daily infections soon

Austria’s commission to assess the pandemic situation, known as GECKO (Gesamtstaatliche COVID-Krisenkoordination), has alerted to rising Covid-19 numbers, Der Standard reports.

The commission believes the daily number of coronavirus infections could reach 70,000 already this summer. This is mainly because people have been travelling more than in previous years while wearing masks less often.

READ ALSO: Will Austria bring back its mask mandate before autumn?

Wages are shrinking and consumption is rising

Austria’s economy will grow somewhat more strongly this year than expected in March, ORF reported.

However, according to the June forecast of the economic research institutes WIFO and IHS, the outlook for the year’s second half is much gloomier.

Since inflation is higher than expected in March, gross real wages will fall by a historic 3.9 percent. However, if inflation falls, the real wages should increase significantly, about 5.3 percent, in 2023.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Austria’s new finance measures could benefit you

Finance Ministry to contact FinanzOnline users

If Austria’s Finance Ministry contacts you, don’t worry: they will be checking everyone’s data on the FinanzOnline platform.

The goal is to have up-to-date account data so that all the announced bonuses and payments to counter the rising cost of living to be made quickly and with no issues.

The contact will happen via the FinanzOnline website and e-mail to users who allow email contact.

Of course, whenever the government or authorities announce they will reach out to people, there are always criminals looking to take advantage of it. Therefore, ensure that the message you received is from FinanzOnline and check the official website directly instead of clicking on links.

READ ALSO: When will you get your cost of living ‘bonus’ payments in Austria?

School holidays start in the east

Vienna, Lower Austria, and Burgenland students have started their nine-week summer vacations. In the remaining Austrian states, school holidays will only begin next week.

Classes will resume on September 5th for the east and September 12th in the Western states. Austria’s ÖAMTC traffic authority expects heavy traffic jams at the beginning of the month, especially as the summer holidays have also started in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and two German federal states.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Austria in July 2022

A break in the heatwave

The west of Austria will have a small break from the heatwave this Friday, Austria’s meteorologic central ZAMG says. A cold front arrives from the west, and maximum temperatures will be between 18C to 21C in the region, with thunderstorms.

In Vienna and Burgenland, though, maximum temperatures continue high, reaching 35C during the day.

READ ALSO: Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms

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