This is the weekly round-up for November 8th-14th. Stay up-to-date with the Covid-19 situation in Austria by clicking here to read our latest news on the pandemic, or clicking here to sign up to our free daily newsletter.
Overview of the Covid-19 situation in Austria
As of November 12th, the 7-day incidence rate (new infections per 100,000 people) was 776. Salzburg (1,236) has the highest incidence, followed by Upper Austria (1,196), while Burgenland (592) and Vienna (443) have the lowest rates.
A total of 110,931 people in Austria were currently positive for Covid-19 on November 12th, with 2,324 people being treated for the disease in hospital, according to AGES. A total of 428 Covid patients are currently in intensive care
A total of 6,057,367 people (67.8 percent of the total population, and 76.7 percent of the population eligible for vaccination) have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, according to the Health Ministry, and 5,804,955 (65 percent) have received two doses as of November 12th.
Rules in place at the moment include an FFP2 mask mandate for everyone on public transport and in all shops and retail venues, and proof of 2G (vaccination or recovery, or negative test) needed for entry to many businesses.
Friday, November 12th
The government has confirmed it will give the go-ahead to a lockdown for people without proof of 2G from Monday. This will apply at least in Salzburg and Upper Austria, and possibly in the whole country, with more details expected on Sunday. Read more on this story here.
Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein has urged people in Austria to return to working from home “wherever possible” due to the rapidly rising spread of Covid-19, in an interview with the Kleine Zeitung.
Mückstein also announced today that he planned to introduce mandatory Covid-19 vaccination for healthcare employees, but did not go into detail about exactly how this will work.
Styria is increasing its vaccine offer in response to increased demand which has led to queues recently. That means it will be possible to get vaccinated seven days a week in all 16 vaccine centres (Impfstraßen).
Thursday, November 11th
Several sets of rule changes were announced today amid the continued rise in cases and pressure on the healthcare sector.
Upper Austria will bring in a lockdown for unvaccinated residents only, pending the green light from the federal government, the regional governor announced today.
Meanwhile Austria’s so-called Traffic Light Commission has recommended that Salzburg also introduce a lockdown for the unvaccinated. This commission is made up of experts on the coronavirus but does not have the power to impose any restrictions, though regional and national governments often act on its recommendations.
In three regions — Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Tyrol — schools have been moved to a new level of restrictions, meaning masks are required in classes for children over 15 (in the Oberstufe), school trips must be cancelled and external events like parent-teacher conferences must move online.
From midnight, Vienna’s new rules on the 2G/3G rule will come into effect. This means that children aged between 12 and 15 will need to follow the 2.5G rule (vaccination, recovery, or a negative PCR test no older than 48 hours) in venues which are 2G for adults (restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas and so on). Children aged 6 to 12 can follow the 3G rule.
Wednesday, November 10th
In the 24 hours leading to Wednesday afternoon, an all-time high of 11,398 new Covid-19 infections were reported in Austria. It’s the first time this number has passed 10,000.
Will we soon see regional lockdowns? Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein is in crisis talks with the leaders of the two regions with the highest incidence rate, Upper Austria and Salzburg, this afternoon to decide on “quick, decisive and comprehensive” measures. The government has so far said any future lockdowns will not apply to fully vaccinated residents.
Everyone who was vaccinated with one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Austria will be sent a letter this week reminding them to get a second shot.
Tomorrow the winners of Burgenland’s vaccine lottery will be announced. The prize draw for all vaccinated residents has been credited with the region’s comparatively high vaccination rate.
Tuesday, November 9th
A further 800 police officers will be brought in to check that Austria’s new 2G rule is being followed, in addition to the 4,000 already working on checks, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer has said.
Far-right Freedom Party leader Herbert Kickl has called for a demonstration against the new rules, but has not yet given details of timings. His party is the only one in Austrian parliament that opposes most of the measures aimed at reducing the spread of Covid-19, including the vaccine.
Monday, November 8th
A new set of strict Covid rules come into effect across Austria from today, meaning that 2G (proof of vaccination or recovery) is required to enter venues including restaurants, hairdressers, events, and cinemas. Until November 6th, there will be a transition period during which a first dose plus a negative PCR test will be sufficient, to allow everyone enough time to get both doses.
The 2G announcement on Friday prompted a surge in demand for vaccines over the weekend, though some regions had limited availability on Sunday, which led to queues and criticism of the authorities.
On Saturday, Austria recorded an all-time high for new daily Covid infections, meaning more new cases were detected within a 24-hour period (9,943) than at any other point since the pandemic began. The previous daily record was 9,586 new cases, reported on November 13th 2020.
How does Austria compare to its neighbours?
The chart below from Our World in Data shows how the number of reported daily Covid cases in Austria compares to those in neighbouring countries.
Note that case numbers depend on rates of testing as well as the prevalence of the virus, so this is not necessarily a true comparison of the spread of the virus in each country.
Do you have a question about Covid-19 in Austria? Contact our editorial team at [email protected] and they will get back to you and do their best to help.