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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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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

ÖVP suffers election setback in Tyrol, Austria relegated in Nations League, Vienna investing billions in hospitals and more news from Austria on Monday.

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

Tyrol likely to have a black-red coalition in government

Centre-right party ÖVP, which leads the Austrian federal government, suffered a decisive defeat in its stronghold Tyrol. In the eastern state, the “black” party lost 9.6 percent of the votes it had won in the previous elections.

The party, led nationwide by chancellor Karl Nehammer, will now go into coalition negotiations, but experts believe the most likely outcome is an ÖVP-SPÖ coalition in the state. The centre-left SPÖ party has 17.5 percent of the vote.

Another possibility – less likely – is a coalition with the far-right FPÖ, which won 3.3 percentual points from the last elections and now has 18.8 percent of the votes. ÖVP governor candidate Anton Mattle had already ruled out a partnership with the FPÖ but hasn’t ruled out a tripartite coalition.

READ ALSO: Austrian presidential elections: Who are the seven candidates?

Austria relegated after loss to Croatia

Croatia booked their place in the UEFA Nations League Finals with a 3-1 win over Austria in Vienna on Sunday, which also consigned the Austrians to relegation from League A.

The visitors took the lead early with a Luka Modric goal, but Austria were able to strike back soon after when Christoph Baumgartner scored a header. In the second half, though, the Croatians dominated and scored twice to guarantee a place in the Nations League Finals.

As a result of the loss, Austria’s football team, also known by its nickname Das Team, suffered relegation.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who is Austria’s new football coach Ralf Rangnick?

Vienna to invest €3.3 billion in city hospitals

The City of Vienna announced it will invest €3.3 billion to modernise all city hospitals by 2040. “Extensive renovations are intended to ensure that the best possible care in all medical disciplines is guaranteed throughout Vienna in the future – from cancer treatment to heart surgery,” according to a government press release.

The first steps have already been taken in the Favoriten and Ottakring clinics.

“The clinics will not only be brought up to the latest state of the art or science, but they will also be converted to climate-friendly standards and their structure will be flexible so that future scientific or medical developments can be integrated without major changes,” said Peter Hacker, Vienna City Councilor for Health.

READ ALSO: Could Austria be spared another wave of Covid this winter?

Heating oil prices are rising in Austria

The new CO2 tax will enter into force in October in Austria, increasing diesel and gasoline prices but also making heating oil more expensive, 5min reported.

While in September 2021, it was still possible to pay 0.802 cents per litre of heating oil, the price almost doubled this month to €1.577 – and it will become €0.9 more expensive yet as of next month.

READ ALSO: ‘I feel ripped off’: What it’s really like living in Austria right now

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

In the west and south, showers are to be expected, Austria’s meteorological institute ZAMG said. In the north and east, the the storms will subside and sunny weather will prevail at times, but towards evening the tendency for rain will increase again.

The wind will be light to moderate from the south. In the afternoon, temperatures should be between 14C to 20C.

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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