Austria: Vienna and eastern states extend coronavirus lockdown

Austrian officials decided on Tuesday in Vienna to extend the coronavirus lockdown in the country's east by a week.

Austria: Vienna and eastern states extend coronavirus lockdown
Photo by Tobias Schwarz / AFP

Austrian officials decided on Tuesday afternoon to extend the lockdown in the eastern states of Vienna, Burgenland and Lower Austria.

The lockdown will be extended from the 11th until the 18th of April.

On April 12th, the lockdown in Vienna and Lower Austria was again extended until May 2nd, while it expires on 18th April in Burgenland. 

Initially put in place in the eastern states for less than a week on April 1st to cover the Easter period, the lockdown was first extended until the 11th of April. 

In early April, it emerged that Vienna had decided to extend the lockdown by a week. Both Burgenland and Lower Austria later decided to follow in a show of solidarity

The lockdown includes schools, meaning that distance learning will continue until at least April 25th in Vienna and Lower Austria, but schools will go back to face-to-face lessons on April 19th in Burgenland. 

READ MORE: What are the latest coronavirus measures in schools and kindergartens in Austria?

Why has the lockdown been extended?

Officials in the eastern states are concerned about rising infection rates fuelled by the prevalence of the British mutation of the virus, which is estimated to represent more than 80 percent of the new coronavirus infections in the region. 

Coronavirus: ICUs at record capacity in Vienna and eastern Austria

The principal concern of authorities in eastern Austria is the amount of people who are being hospitalised due to the virus, both in general admissions and in intensive care. 

ICU admissions in both Vienna and Lower Austria are currently at their highest point since the start of the pandemic, Austrian media reported on Tuesday

Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig said on Tuesday that the lockdown was likely to be extended further unless ICU numbers fell in the east of the country

Ludwig however declined to set out an exact metric from which the lockdown could be relaxed, saying it was important to take all data into account. 

Member comments

  1. Why not consider getting the vaccine in people’s arms instead of this constant lockdown, which simply doesn’t work? This is among the most backward approaches to the pandemic I have ever seen…similar to the US under Trump…backwards and confused. Just get every Apothotek to be able to administer the vaccine…how can the US be SO far ahead??? Get this done!

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Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Christmas illuminations in Vienna will also be scaled back this year as part of the city's energy saving measures.

Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Vienna, a city known for its Christmas markets and its New Year concert, is cutting back on public lighting in the face of soaring energy prices.

“There will be no Christmas illuminations this year on the Ring,” the famous boulevard that encircles the centre of the Austrian capital, city spokeswoman Roberta Kraft told AFP.

READ MORE: Five of the biggest challenges facing Austria right now

And the lights at the Christmas market in the square in front of the city hall would only be switched on at night and not at dusk, as in previous years, “which is to say about an hour later, on average, every day”, she said.

The city authorities said they had not calculated exactly how much they would save, but the move comes after energy prices have skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its response to Western sanctions.

Last Friday, the Austrian Energy Agency announced that its electricity price index for September rose by more than 256 percent year-on-year.

READ ALSO: Inflation at 9.2% in July: How to beat rising prices in Austria

Austria, with its population of nine million, is very dependent on tourism and its end-of-year celebrations are a major motor of the economy.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down much international travel, more than four million people visited Vienna’s famous Christmas markets in 2019.

In 2021, around 30 of Vienna’s shopping streets were lit up for seven hours a day, from November 12 until early January.