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

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Photo credit: Erik Johansen / NTB
Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

Federal Government meets with Gecko today

The Austrian Federal Government is today meeting with the country’s Covid Crisis Coordination Commission (Gecko). The fast-spreading Omicron variant will be the main topic of discussion.

It is expected that General Director for Public Security Katharina Reich and Major General Rudolf Striedinger will present suggestions for how vital areas of Austria’s infrastructure can be kept running amid rising infection and K1 (close contact) numbers.

It is also possible that the quarantine rules for contact persons of a positive case could be shortened to avoid a shortage of workers across the country.

Vienna, Salzburg and Tyrol seeing biggest rise in Covid-19 case numbers

On Wednesday, after the Ministry of Social Affairs published new infection figures several hours late, it was revealed the number of positive cases had increased by 77 percent on the previous day (9,761 cases were reported in 24 hours). The majority of new infections came from Vienna, followed by Salzburg and Tyrol.

The Covid forecast consortium didn’t expect the number of new cases to reach 10,000 in one day until next week. On Wednesday, the consortium forecast a high of 17,000 new cases in 24 hours in a worst case scenario. A record of 15,809 new infections was announced on November 19th, 2021.

Additionally, the consortium predicts the seven-day incidence in Tyrol could rise above 3,000 by next Wednesday January 12th.

Wien Energie employees isolate themselves

Wien Energie has confirmed 50 staff members have moved into their workplace for the next four weeks to ensure the city’s energy supply is guaranteed.

This follows concerns that up to a third of Austria’s workforce might become sick or have to quarantine in the coming weeks as cases of the Covid-19 Omicron variant continue to rise.

Staff members also moved into Wien Energie during the first outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 as part of an emergency plan.

Thousands of homes without power due to snow in Carinthia

Up to 20,000 homes have been left without electricity in Carinthia after heavy snowfall across the province brought down trees.

By Thursday morning, the fire brigade reported 600 operations throughout Carinthia. Several streets are still closed due to fallen trees, and three railway lines – including the Karawankenbahn between Villach and Rosenbach – are out of operation. 

Traffic accidents and stuck cars have also been reported across Carinthia.


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