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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

Ischgl
The FFP2 mask mandate has been extended in some parts of Tyrol. Photo: Clemens Volgger/Unsplash

30,000 daily Covid infections expected next week after all-time high

Austria reached a record-breaking 17,000 new cases of Covid-19 recorded on Wednesday, in line with the estimates of the Covid Forecasting Consortium.

The trend is expected to keep climbing and reach 30,000 new cases per day next week, with an increase in the number of hospital admissions nearer the end of the month.

That would mean a nationwide incidence rate (new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days) of up to 2,500, and higher rates of around 3,000 in Vienna, Tyrol and Salzburg. Those three regions already have rates above 1,000 while the current national incidence rate is 842.

Austria to turn red again on Covid traffic light map

Today Austria’s Covid Commission will give their weekly ‘traffic light’ update, and the whole country is expected to turn ‘red’ or ‘very high risk’ again, based on the current numbers.

At the moment, Styria, Burgenland and Carinthia remain orange or ‘high risk’.

The Commission’s assessment uses a ‘risk number’ based on a range of factors including incidence rates and hospital capacity, traceability of infection chains and the test positivity rate in each region.

Tyrol extends FFP2 mandate outdoors

FFP2 masks will need to be worn outside on several busy streets in Ischgl (Dorfstrasse, Silvrettaplatz and on the Fimbabahnweg) and in many public areas of St. Anton am Arlberg (including in its pedestrianised zone, on large parts of the Dorfstraße and at bus terminals among other places).

The mandate applies between 8am and midnight, and comes into effect today.

How are 2G checks in retail going?

Police carried out 33,000 checks on the new law requiring shops to check customers’ 2G proof on its first day, Tuesday. A total of 180 violations were reported, according to the Interior Ministry.

Expanded test options in Austria’s kindergartens

While schools in Austria carry out regular Covid testing, that’s not been the case for younger children. But there are tests available for kindergartners, although they remain voluntary and the offer depends on your region.

In Vienna, the Alles Gurgelt at-home PCR tests can be used by under-5s and this has been encouraged since the autumn, with over 17,000 tests carried out in the kindergarten age group just last weekend, Der Standard reports. The same tests are available in Tyrol.

In most other regions, either only antigen or both antigen and PCR tests are available, sometimes at the kindergartens themselves. When the kindergartens carry out the tests, parental consent is necessary.

Austrian Airlines plans to introduce 2G rule for pilots and flight personnel

The rule will apply from March 1st, after which staff without proof of 2G will no longer be given assignments by the airline, Salzburger Nachrichten reports.

No grace period for Brits after December 31st deadline to apply for post-Brexit residence

British nationals who were living in Austria under EU law before the end of 2020 were given one year to apply for their Article 50 residency cards.

Asked by APA if there would be any grace period for anyone who missed the December 31st, 2021 deadline, the Interior Ministry said that in principle there would not be — though they did say that if there was a “reasonable reason” for the delay, for example serious illness, it is possible a residence permit could be issued late. Anyone affected should contact the authorities as soon as possible.

It is hard to tell the exact number of people who may have missed the deadline. According to figures from Statistics Austria, 11,529 British citizens were living in Austria at the beginning of 2021, and by the end of that year 8,886 had applied for their Article 50 residence card. That does not necessarily mean the remainder are unable to stay, as some may have another right of residence in Austria, for example EU residence from a different country.

If you’re concerned you may have missed the deadline, the volunteer-run British in Austria group offers advice to affected Brits. You can also contact The Local by emailing [email protected]

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

New Covid-19 recommendations for vaccines, home ownership a 'luxury', weather forecast and more news from Austria on Thursday.

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

Austria recommends fourth Covid-19 vaccination for those over 60

Austria’s National Vaccination Board (NIG) is now recommending a second booster vaccination (fourth dose) against Covid-19 for people from the age of 60, lowering the recommendation from 65.

In addition, high-risk people from the age of 12 should also get another dose, NIG says.

The recommendation change follows the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

“With the recommendation for a booster vaccination from the age of 60, we standardise the recommendation following Europe-wide requirements and thus ensure more clarity in communication,” Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Austria formally scraps mandatory Covid vaccination law

Austria’s retail industry faces a test

While consumers save and avoid shopping, the retailers face high costs overall, causing the sector to face challenges just as it started recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, daily Der Standard reported.

Logistics is more expensive, especially as fuel prices skyrocket, there are high wage demands, and energy bills are going up along with rental costs. With all that, sellers still face staff shortages and consumers who just can’t afford the same shopping habits.

“Many companies are facing a test”, Rainer Will, head of the trade association, warns. He expects a real loss of sales that will force companies to shut down by the end of the year.

READ ALSO: Will a 4-day week and free German lessons help Vienna’s transport network find staff?

Owning a home a ‘luxury’ in Austria

Austria has ranked as Europe’s second most expensive property market, with the average price per square metre for new apartments rising by 11 percent last year.

Consulting firm Deloitte has released its annual Property Index and the 2022 edition reveals what most people in Austria already know – property is more expensive than ever.

Last year, the average price per square metre for a new apartment in Austria rose to €4,782, which is an increase of 11 percent on 2020 prices. And in the first quarter of 2022, prices increased by 13 percent.

This makes Austria one of the most expensive property markets in Europe (ahead of Germany and France), with just the UK ranking higher.

READ ALSO: ‘Concrete gold’: Austria ranks as Europe’s second most expensive property market

Latest Covid-19 numbers

Austria on Wednesday recorded 6,992 new coronavirus cases after 93,328 PCR tests, according to the Health Ministry.

There are 1,339 people hospitalised with Covid-19 (33 more than the day before) and 81 in intensive care units. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 19,231 people have died from Covid-19 in Austria.

Just under 60 percent of the population has a valid immunologic protection, meaning they have a combination of vaccination and/or recovered status recognised by the government.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The Covid rules across Austria from August 2022

Weather forecast for Thursday

Sunshine is the norm this Thursday in most of Austria, but some clouds could form in the east. Afternoon temperatures are between 23C and 29C, with the highest areas in the country’s west. At night, clouds dissolve for the most part and it cools down to between 9C and 15C.

In Vienna, it will be mostly sunny with some clouds during the afternoon, when temperatures should be around 27C, according to Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG. The low evening temperatures should be close to 14C.

READ ALSO: The five best places for stargazing in Austria

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