Covid-19 in Austria: Follow the latest developments as they happen

Medical workers handle antigen tests in a Vienna pharmacy
Medical workers handle antigen tests in a Vienna pharmacy. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP
Catch up on the latest Covid-19 news and current statistics in The Local's roundup as they happen throughout the week.

Overview of the Covid-19 situation in Austria

As of January 6th the 7-day incidence rate (new infections per 100,000 people) was 432. Salzburg (904) has the highest incidence, followed by Tyrol (787), while Burgenland (238) and Styria (232) have the lowest rates.

A total of 58,381 people in Austria are currently positive for Covid-19 as of January 6th, with 655 people being treated for the disease in hospital outside ICUs, according to AGES. An additional 289 Covid patients are currently in intensive care.

A total of 6,637,974 people (74.3 percent of the total population) have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, according to the Health Ministry, and 6,298,100 (70.5 percent) have a valid vaccine pass as of January 6th.

Friday, January 7th

The Covid incidence rate is continuing to rise steeply amidst the Omicron wave. According to AGES, the effective reproduction rate has risen to 1.45 based on the past two weeks. That means that on average, each infected person will pass the disease on to 1.45 more people, which means we can expect numbers to keep rising quickly.

Austria’s digital health portal ELGA has said that it will not be possible to implement the technical infrastructure needed to enforce a planned vaccine mandate before April at the earliest. The comments were made in ELGA’s official statement on the draft of the law, which is currently under review. The government plans to bring in the mandate from February with the first fines issued from mid-March.

Education Minister Martin Polaschek has reiterated calls for parents to ensure their children get tested for Covid-19 before the return to school on Monday, and to stay at home if they test positive.

As has become a regular occurrence, protests against Austria’s Covid-19 measures are expected in the cities over the weekend. In Vienna two of the largest planned rallies are scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Maria-Theresien-Platz and Heldenplatz, with a march around the ring road from 3pm on Sunday.

Thursday, January 6th

On Thursday, Austria’s Covid Crisis Coordination Commission (Gecko) is meeting with the Federal Government to discuss the pandemic situation. Omicron will be the main topic of discussion – especially how to protect Austria’s crucial infrastructure amid rising infection and K1 (close contact) numbers.

Read more about how Austria’s Covid-19 restrictions could change after the meeting.

The head of the Red Cross, Gerry Foitik, has issued an urgent warning on Twitter against a strategy of contamination ahead of today’s Gecko meeting. Foitik said: “It [contamination strategy] means incalculable risk for all of us and that we force children and vulnerable groups to play Russian roulette.”

As Covid-19 cases around the country continue to rise, the Covid forecast consortium predicts the seven-day incidence in Tyrol could rise above 3,000 by next Wednesday January 12th.

Wednesday, January 5th

The total number of people with a valid vaccine pass has decreased slightly in the past 24 hours, which could be because of updated rules which mean a single dose of Johnson & Johnson is no longer considered valid. As of today, 70.3 percent of the Austrian population have a valid vaccine pass, which is 78.01 percent of the population eligible for vaccination.

Nationwide raids took place and 22 people were placed under investigation on suspicion of forging vaccination certificates.

Tuesday, January 4th

On Tuesday, 5,496 new Covid-19 cases and 25 deaths were registered in Austria.

Upper Austria’s crisis team is expecting up to 70,000 infections in the coming weeks, which could lead to serious staffing issues in schools and hospitals.

Gecko, Austria’s crisis communication committee, is expected to deliver concrete proposals to the Federal Government by Thursday in relation to the current Omicron wave of infections across the country.

Mayor of Vienna Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) is calling for nationwide Covid-19 measures in a bid to slow down the ongoing increase in cases and said another national lockdown could not be ruled out.

Monday, January 3rd

Austria’s crisis communication committee Gecko meets for a Covid summit today, but we won’t get an update on whether any new measures are recommended until after they meet again with regional and national leaders on Thursday (which is a public holiday in Austria).

Single doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are no longer valid proof of full vaccination (2G) in Austria either for travel or domestic rules. 

If you’re wondering what else we can expect with Covid-19 in Austria in 2022, read this analysis.

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.

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