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

Demonstrators carry torches and a sign which reads
Demonstrators carry torches and a sign which reads "No compulsory vaccination" during a rally. Photo: Joe Klamar/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 14th the 7-day incidence rate (new infections per 100,000 people) was 1,023. Salzburg (1,905) has the highest incidence, followed by Tyrol (1,646), while Burgenland (558) and Styria (603) have the lowest rates.

A total of 130,329 people in Austria are currently positive for Covid-19 as of January 14th, with 682 people being treated for the disease in hospital outside ICUs, according to AGES. An additional 220 Covid patients are currently in intensive care.

A total of 6,677,304 people (74.8 percent of the total population) have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, according to the Health Ministry, and 6,377,489 (71.4 percent) have a valid vaccine pass as of January 13th.

Friday, January 14th

The nationwide incidence rate (new infections per 100,000 people over the past seven days) has now passed 1,000 to reach 1,023.

The government is debating the draft law on mandatory vaccines today and over the weekend with opposition parties and experts ahead of a parliamentary vote currently set for Thursday. Here’s our latest update.

The newer variants of the virus require adjustments to the way Austria carries out testing, the nation’s crisis commission has said, with some regions needing to reserve PCR tests for key groups like the healthcare sector.

Austria has been re-added to Germany’s list of ‘high risk’ countries, after only being removed from the list on Christmas Day. This means a requirement for all travellers to register ahead of travel, while those without proof of 2G must quarantine on arrival.

Thursday, January 13th

All of Austria is set to be once again classed as ‘very high risk’ or ‘red’ by the Corona Commission following its weekly risk assessment.

The 3G rule for workplaces will continue to apply even after the planned introduction of the vaccine mandate in February, Austria’s Ministry of Labour said today.

Tyrol has expanded the FFP2 mask mandate outdoors to cover several busy streets and other public areas in two towns with high incident rates.

Salzburg’s annual Mozart Week festival is the latest cultural event to fall victim to the pandemic, with organisers announcing its cancellation today.

Wednesday, January 12th

86 percent of patients in Vienna’s intensive care units with Covid-19 this week were not fully vaccinated, Health Councillor Peter Hacker told local radio. In normal wards, the figure was 68 percent.

The number of new Covid cases reported in the last 24 hours is the highest from any point of the pandemic, at 17,006. Austria’s forecasting consortium, which correctly predicted this level, expects the daily number to reach 30,000 by next week. For now, admissions to hospital remain at a stable level.

Three regions have incidence rates over 1,000: Vienna (1,148), Tyrol (1,388) and Salzburg (1,609).

Tuesday, January 11th

Two sets of new Covid rules come into force today: an FFP2 mask mandate in some outdoor areas, and a requirement for non-essential shops to check customers’ 2G proof. Read the details here.

Almost 900,000 Austrian vaccine passes will lose their validity from February 1st, when the validity period is reduced to six months from the second dose. Interior Minister Gerhard Karner told a press conference that the government and police would act “strictly” towards “unteachable people who do not maintain the necessary measures”.

Despite comments from Austria’s digital health agency ELGA that putting in place the technical infrastructure needing for a vaccine mandate won’t be possible until April, Chancellor Karl Nehammer has said the February 1st date for its introduction is fixed.

Monday, January 10th

There have been long waiting times in some parts of the country for PCR test results. In Tyrol for example, waiting times have recently been over the 24 hours the region has committed to – and ORF reports that despite high incidence rates in the region, this is not because of a high burden on laboratories, which are only at around 40 percent of their capacity.

Austria’s schools re-open today, and remain in a Sicherheitsphase (‘safety phase’) which means masks must be worn in all enclosed areas of the school and students must take Covid tests three times per week regardless of their vaccination status. This is now in place until at least the end of February.

Austria’s head of government Karl Nehammer has tested positive for Covid-19, but reported that he has not experienced any symptoms.

From Saturday, more lenient rules apply to quarantine for close contacts of positive cases, with the quarantine period shortened to a minimum five days, after which it is possible to end quarantine with a negative test.

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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