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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Emergency gas plan, firewood in high demand, fake cops scam, today's weather forecast and more news from Austria on Thursday.

firewood energy crisis supply gas heat
Firewood is in high demand in Switzerland (Photo by david lindahl on Unsplash)

EU Commission’s draft gas supply plan calls for limited heating

A draft of the European Union’s emergency plan regarding a gas supply stop calls for limited heating at public and commercial buildings, including offices. According to Der Standard, the plan states that these buildings should be heated to a maximum of 19C from autumn.

Households are also called upon to reduce gas consumption voluntarily. The plan aims to prepare for a sudden supply interruption as Russia cuts gas deliveries to European countries. A final draft should be officially presented by next Wednesday, July 20th.

READ ALSO: Austria to convert coal power plant as Russian reduces gas deliveries

Firewood in high demand in Austria

Panic buying has made it so that firewood is sold out in many places in Austria, as people begin to hoard the supply fearing gas shortages during autumn and winter months, Die Presse reported.

As a result, prices have skyrocketed, the newspaper added. For example, in the Obi market, firewood could be bought for €70 one year ago. Now, it goes for €199.90.

The demand for services such as chimney sweeping has also increased with the energy crisis and fears that the Kremlin will turn off gas supplies.

READ ALSO: Is Austria set for a gas price hike – and what can you do to avoid it?

More victims of the ‘fake cops’ scam in Austria

The police in Austria is again alerting people to the so-called “fake police” or “fake cops” scams to trick people into sending money or valuables. The fraud usually happens through a phone call when the criminals pretend to be police officers.

From then, they tell several different stories to get the victim to send money. This week, a 66-year-old person received a call from an alleged policewoman who said burglars in the area were planning a large operation, according to a police press release. The false police officer told the victim to hand over all valuables to the police for her safety.

The woman complied and put a bag of cash and gold worth several thousand euros in front of the apartment door – unknown perpetrators then picked up the bag. The case happened in Vienna, and the police have taken over the investigation.

The authorities reiterate that if you receive a call from people claiming to be police officers, you should immediately hang up. They added that the police never ask for cash or valuables and that before you do anything, contact a police station independently.

As most victims are older people, the police also ask that you inform older family members of this form of fraud.

READ ALSO: Austrian police warn public about new ‘fake cops’ scam

Vienna against plans to scrap quarantine requirements for Covid-19 cases

In Vienna, Health City Councilor Peter Hacker (SPÖ) has said the two million people city would not be an “experimental” case for easing rules, broadcaster ORF reported.

As calls to remove quarantine and isolation requirements for positive Covid-19 cases grow in Austria, the country’s capital seems to be leaning toward maintaining certain restrictions.

“Health authorities now have the unpleasant task of continuing to insist that we need unpleasing rules to get through this pandemic”, Hacker said. He said he would have a phone call with federal Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) this month.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Will Austria drop quarantine and isolation for positive Covid-19 cases?

Covid-19 numbers

Austria on Wednesday recorded 15,149 new coronavirus infections after 129,569 PCR tests. There are currently 1,151 people in hospitals due to Covid-19, 28 more than the day before. The number in intensive care units raised by 10, to 66 people, according to the Health Ministry.

Only 61.2 percent of the population has immunity protection against the virus. This means they either have three valid vaccine doses or a combination of two doses and a recent recovery status.

READ ALSO: Covid-19 in Austria: When should you get your fourth vaccine dose?

Today’s weather forecast

The day starts with clouds, especially in the west and south, which could also bring a little rain, according to Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG.

However, this quickly dissolves to sunny weather in most of Austria. Early temperatures will be between 14C to 21C, while the maximum day temperatures are from 27C to 33C.

During the night, dense clouds and local rain showers should form in the north of the Danube and through the northern side of the Alps. The temperatures drop to between 13C to 21C during the night.

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Start of the electricity price brake in Austria, inflation to drop slightly in November, Austrian released from Iranian jail for medical treatment and more news from Austria on Thursday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
  • Start of electricity price brake in Austria

From Thursday, the electricity price brake will come into force for every household with a valid electricity contract and the effects should be seen in the electricity bills. 

According to the government, the measure will save households an average of €500 a year. 

The price of electricity will be subsidised up to a consumption of 2,900 kilowatt hours, the government said. Until that limit, it will cost only ten cents per kilowatt hour – the energy price from before the current energy crisis.

Above that consumption limit, people will have to pay market prices for what they consume.

READ ALSO: How could Austria’s new electricity price brake benefit you?

  • Reader question: How to get a flu vaccination in Austria?

Austrian doctors and virologists have warned of a particularly strong flu wave this winter and recommend that people get vaccinated. Here’s how to get the shot in each province.

  • Flash estimate puts November inflation at 10.6 percent

The inflation rate for November 2022 is expected to be 10.6 percent, according to calculations by Statistics Austria, as part of a flash estimate. Compared to the previous month, consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent.

“After reaching 11.0 percent in October 2022, the highest inflation rate in 70 years, it is expected to ease to 10.6 percent in November 2022. This is mainly because the upward pressure on prices for the main inflation drivers, household energy and fuel, is weakening slightly”, said Statistics Austria Director General Tobias Thomas.

The index level of consumer price index and other results for November 2022 will be announced on December 16th 2022.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: 10 ways to save money on your groceries in Austria

  •    Austria welcomes Iran freeing Austrian for medical treatment

Vienna on Wednesday welcomed the release of an  Austrian from prison in Iran to get medical treatment.

Massud Mossaheb, a 76-year-old Austrian citizen of Iranian origin who was jailed in Iran on charges of espionage, was freed last week. He spent almost four years at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

“We have been raising the issue at the highest levels and we welcome that  these diplomatic endeavours have now produced first results,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman said

“As far as we are concerned, we will continue with everything in our hands  to work for a humanitarian solution in all cases of Austrians imprisoned.”

Two other Austrians are currently detained in Iran.

  • Austrian actress Christiane Hörbiger died aged 84

Christiane Hörbiger, one of Austria’s most beloved actresses, died on Wednesday at the age of 84, several Austrian media reported. She was one of the actress daughters of legendary Austrian actors Attila Hörbiger and Paula Wessely. 

She had great successes with television series such as ‘Das Erbe der Guldenburgs’ or ‘Julia’, but also with cinema and television films such as Helmut Dietl’s award-winning satire ‘Schtonk’.

Hörbiger, known as the grande dame of Austrian cinema, also performed in theatres in the Alpine country and Europe.

READ ALSO: Austria’s empress: These are the latest TV shows and movies about Sissi

  • The city of Graz promotes Counselling Café

Do you need information, advice, support with family or even neighbourhood issues? Do you need to learn how to get social benefits or care allowances? Do you have questions about allowances or the Senior:innencard? Or about the SozialCard? Do you need an overview of services for the disabled? Or do you have questions about compulsory training or youth coaching?

If so, you are welcome to the Beratungscafe, or counselling Café, an open counselling table on social issues promoted by the City of Graz.

Just drop by – without registration: the counselling service is free of charge and voluntary for children, young people and adults, the government said.

The counselling café takes place twice a month, on Wednesdays and the next date is December 7th from 2 pm to 4 pm at the SMZ Stadtteilzentrum Jakomini. You can see all the dates, times and addresses HERE.

READ ALSO: Salzburg, Linz, Graz: Where are Austria’s biggest companies?

  • Weather
Screenshot from ZAMG

Especially in the south, there will be dense clouds, and it will continue to rain and snow occasionally, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said. 

The snowfall limits lie between 500 and 800m in the east during the day and in the south around 1000m. In the afternoon, the clouds will clear from the east. In Tyrol, the sun will even show up for a bit.

Early temperatures are minus 3C to plus 2C, while daytime highs are 1C to 6C.

If you have any questions about life in Austria, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

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