Today in Austria: A round-up of the latest news on Tuesday

Doctors with vaccine
ALEX HALADA / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Austria with The Local's short roundup of the news

‘Worsening’ situation in hospitals

The situation in the intensive care units of hospitals in the east Austrian states of Burgenland, Vienna and Lower Austria is continuing to worsen, according to a report from the Wiener Zietung newspaper.

Experts, the opposition, the federal and state governments will discuss emergency plans later today.

Bernhard Jany, a spokesman for the Lower Austria State Health Agency, told the paper people should continue to avoid socialising so as not to get infected with coronavirus but also postpone risky leisure activities such as mountain biking or motorcycle trips.

Experts undecided over further lockdowns

Experts are undecided on the next steps Austria should take to contain the pandemic, Der Standard newspaper reports. The epidemiologist Gerald Gartlehner told the newspaper the lockdown in the Eastern states should be extended.

However, the virologist Dorothee von Laer said the warmer weather in April could help Austria to get through to summer without further lockdowns.

Number of coronavirus infections falls

However, the number of coronavirus infections has fallen dramatically. The seven-day incidence, or the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, is 242.3.

The fall in numbers could be due to fewer tests due to the holidays. The number is clearly highest in Vienna (322.8), followed by Lower Austria (278.3) and Salzburg (235.1). The value is lowest in Vorarlberg (127.2) and Styria (176.6), the AGES website reports. 

Thousands reported for breaking coronavirus rules

More than 2,500 reports were made in Austria over Easter weekend due to people disregarding the lockdown restrictions.

Around 524 people broke curfews while others refused to observe distance and mask rules. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) was “particularly angry” about an incident in Schottentor, Vienna, in which a mask refuser punched policemen and injured two officers, Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports. 

Distance learning for schools

Schools in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland have returned to distance learning for four days. For children aged under 14-year-olds, there will be childcare at the schools if required with a testing requirement, broadcaster ORF reports.

Catching up with vaccination will take ‘weeks’

An economist at the think tank Agenda Austria, Heike Lehner, says that, even if there were enough vaccines, it would still take weeks for Austria to catch up with the current state of the USA, the UK or Israel, Die Presse newspaper reports. He also says delays to vaccination are costing Austria billions in lost revenue.


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