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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

New Covid-19 recommendations for vaccines, home ownership a 'luxury', weather forecast and more news from Austria on Thursday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Construction cranes on the site of a new building in Vienna. Property prices are going up in Austria. (Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP)

Austria recommends fourth Covid-19 vaccination for those over 60

Austria’s National Vaccination Board (NIG) is now recommending a second booster vaccination (fourth dose) against Covid-19 for people from the age of 60, lowering the recommendation from 65.

In addition, high-risk people from the age of 12 should also get another dose, NIG says.

The recommendation change follows the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

“With the recommendation for a booster vaccination from the age of 60, we standardise the recommendation following Europe-wide requirements and thus ensure more clarity in communication,” Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Austria formally scraps mandatory Covid vaccination law

Austria’s retail industry faces a test

While consumers save and avoid shopping, the retailers face high costs overall, causing the sector to face challenges just as it started recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, daily Der Standard reported.

Logistics is more expensive, especially as fuel prices skyrocket, there are high wage demands, and energy bills are going up along with rental costs. With all that, sellers still face staff shortages and consumers who just can’t afford the same shopping habits.

“Many companies are facing a test”, Rainer Will, head of the trade association, warns. He expects a real loss of sales that will force companies to shut down by the end of the year.

READ ALSO: Will a 4-day week and free German lessons help Vienna’s transport network find staff?

Owning a home a ‘luxury’ in Austria

Austria has ranked as Europe’s second most expensive property market, with the average price per square metre for new apartments rising by 11 percent last year.

Consulting firm Deloitte has released its annual Property Index and the 2022 edition reveals what most people in Austria already know – property is more expensive than ever.

Last year, the average price per square metre for a new apartment in Austria rose to €4,782, which is an increase of 11 percent on 2020 prices. And in the first quarter of 2022, prices increased by 13 percent.

This makes Austria one of the most expensive property markets in Europe (ahead of Germany and France), with just the UK ranking higher.

READ ALSO: ‘Concrete gold’: Austria ranks as Europe’s second most expensive property market

Latest Covid-19 numbers

Austria on Wednesday recorded 6,992 new coronavirus cases after 93,328 PCR tests, according to the Health Ministry.

There are 1,339 people hospitalised with Covid-19 (33 more than the day before) and 81 in intensive care units. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 19,231 people have died from Covid-19 in Austria.

Just under 60 percent of the population has a valid immunologic protection, meaning they have a combination of vaccination and/or recovered status recognised by the government.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The Covid rules across Austria from August 2022

Weather forecast for Thursday

Sunshine is the norm this Thursday in most of Austria, but some clouds could form in the east. Afternoon temperatures are between 23C and 29C, with the highest areas in the country’s west. At night, clouds dissolve for the most part and it cools down to between 9C and 15C.

In Vienna, it will be mostly sunny with some clouds during the afternoon, when temperatures should be around 27C, according to Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG. The low evening temperatures should be close to 14C.

READ ALSO: The five best places for stargazing in Austria

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For members

TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Energy cost subsidy announced, the latest Strache controversy, weather forecast and more news from Austria on Thursday.

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

Energy cost subsidy for companies is increased

Since many companies can no longer afford the sharply increased energy costs, the government has decided to increase the budget for a subsidy from €450 million to €1.3 billion. 

Specifically, funds are earmarked for companies that spend at least much of their turnover on electricity, gas and fuels, the daily newspaper Die Presse reported.

The first money is supposed to flow later this year, but the subsidies will be retroactively paid to bills from February to September 2022.

Each company can receive up to €50 million.

READ ALSO: From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

Tyrol could have a three-way coalition

In Tyrol, there will likely be either a two-party coalition of centre-right ÖVP and centre-left SPÖ or a tripartite alliance of ÖVP, Greens and Neos. 

Anton Mattle, the  ÖVP candidate tasked with forming the state’s new government, will invite these parties “in a timely manner” to an exploratory round before a final decision on coalition negotiations, he told journalists on Wednesday evening after the initial discussion round in Innsbruck’s Landhaus.

Tyrol had state elections on Sunday, and the ÖVP suffered a significant loss, though it was the most voted party. It now needs to enter into an agreement with other parties to form a parliamentary majority.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who will be Tyrol’s new governor?

Former vice-chancellor Strache makes headlines again

If you see the face of former vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache (formerly FPOe) on the news often this week – and maybe even on one or two satirical drawings, that’s because of the latest, well, gossip regarding the politician.

The once powerful politician fell in disgrace after a video of him bragging about his party’s influence on Austrian media and organisations leaked. The video, shot with a hidden camera and the help of people pretending to have ties with Russian oligarchs, was filmed on the Spanish island of Ibiza. It was released in 2019 and crumbled the OeVP-FPOe coalition. 

Since then, both parties, and Strache, have faced corruption allegations and charges.

Now, the controversy surrounding the former vice-chancellor also involves his personal life. He recently divorced from long-time partner Philippa Strache, an Austrian politician who stood by him during the Ibiza affair. 

The reason came out this week: Strache apparently hid the fact he had a child with another woman from his wife. A daughter was born in 2016, just eight months before the lavishing Strache wedding ceremony in Wachau.

READ ALSO: ‘Ibizagate’: What you need to know about the Austrian political corruption scandal

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG  

Numerous cloud fields will cover the country, the sun will only appear occasionally and there will still be rain showers in the morning, especially in the eastern half, Austria´s meteorological institute ZAMG said.

In the afternoon, the precipitation will decrease, but in the west and south of Austria, rain and showers will set in again with the arrival of the next disturbance. The snow line will be around 2000m above sea level. 

Winds will often be light from mainly northerly directions. Afternoon temperatures should stay between 9 and 16 degrees.

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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