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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Inflation reaches a 40-year high in Austria and more news on Friday.

A hiker looks out over the snow covered mountains near the Ritzau alp in the Kaiser Mountains, Austria.
It's looking chilly and cloudy today in Austria (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

Inflation in Austria reaches heights not seen since the 1980s

Inflation in Austria has risen to a 40-year high of 6.8 percent, leading to opposition parties in Austria to call for more to be done to help people struggling with fuel costs and household bills. The SPÖ, FPÖ and NEOS parties have all called for further relief for the population.

Broadcaster ORF reports that in March, fuel prices rose by more than half (up 50.7 percent) compared to the previous year. Diesel rose by 55 percent and premium petrol by 45.3 percent. Housing, water and energy cost an average of 9.7 percent more.

According to a recent survey by the opinion research institute Ipsos, nine out of ten people in Austria are already feeling the effects of inflation in their daily lives, especially when shopping and filling up their cars. More than half of the 500 people surveyed plan to cut back on non-essential purchases in the near future.

Inflation is likely to remain high in the coming months. According to a forecast by the Economic Research Institute (WIFO), consumer prices  could rise by up to seven percent this year due to the hike in energy prices.

In Vienna around 1,350 refugees are living in private homes

While more than a thousand Ukrainian refugees have been placed in private homes belonging to people in Vienna, according to the charity Diakonie.

Maria Katharina Moser, director of Diakonie, told the Wien Heute (Vienna Today) programme, that there were still  800 displaced people looking for an apartment in the city, some with complex needs such as a family member with a disability.

READ MORE: How Austria and Austrians are helping Ukrainian refugees

Should compulsory vaccination just be for health workers and at risk groups?

The head of Austria’s Bioethics Commission, Christiane Druml, wants to re-think the county’s compulsory vaccination policy. In an interview in the Kurier newspaper, Druml has advised the compulsory vaccination should apply to groups such as health professionals, people over 60 and high-risk patients of all ages.

READ MORE: How Austria’s attempt to make vaccines mandatory changed the country

Austria has donated more than five million Covid-19 vaccines

Austria has donated a total of 5,428,020 doses of Covid-19 vaccines. The largest recipient was Bangladesh, which received just over 1.25 million doses of AstraZeneca in two tranches. One million went to Iran, and 345,000 to Ghana, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Anger as many miss out on cheap holiday childcare

Thousands of parents have been left frustrated after trying to register for the city of Vienna’s summer holiday camps. The Ferien in Wien summer camp website continuously crashed when parents tried to register their children, phone calls went unanswered and payment for the places was impossible. 

Mario Rieder, managing director of the company “Bildung im Zentrum” said he took responsibility and apologised for the failings, broadcaster ORF reports. Parents are calling for a return to analogue registration in view of the IT problems they have experienced.

Vienna’s Deputy Mayor Christoph Wiederkehr (NEOS) said in a written statement that the city had managed to increase the number of childcare places from 20,000 to 24,000, which meant around  10% of Viennese school children could take part in the Summer City Camps. He said it was not possible for the city to bridge the holidays for all children.

The camps, which are run by the City of Vienna, cost just 50 euros per child per week, dropping to 25 euros for siblings.

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

German classes for refugees, vaccination, the weather for today and more news from Austria on Monday.

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

Debate about German courses for refugees

Austria is debating the best way to provide German classes for refugees and promote integration, as Der Standard reports.

Firstly, refugees usually have one single German-speaking teacher and almost no contact with German-speaking students at schools, reducing their contact with the language considerably. They also never hear their mother tongue in the context of school.

However, this mainly happens among schoolchildren with poor knowledge of German from Turkey, Syria, Serbia and even Austria.

The situation is different in most classes that were set up for Ukrainian refugee children, the daily said. These kids usually have at least two teachers who speak German (one would speak Ukrainian as well).

The Austrian daily paper says students have already noticed the difference. “The German class with children from Syria is separated by only a wall from the Ukrainian class – and everyone can see how much resources go where”, according to the report.

READ ALSO: How Austria and Austrians are helping Ukrainian refugees

Vienna expands vaccination offers

Long lines in Viennese vaccination centres led to people having to wait one and a half to two hours to get the coronavirus jab, according to reports in Austria media.

Broadcaster ORF said that the surge in demand comes just after the city of Vienna simplified the access to the fourth Covid vaccination. As a result, people can get the shot after four months of the third dose without the need for registration or appointment.

With increasing coronavirus numbers ahead of the summer holidays, the search for the vaccine has also risen. While about 300 people were vaccinated daily less than two weeks ago, about 1,300 people went every day at the weekend, the report said.

Health authorities recommend people make an appointment even though they are not required to. “With an appointment, it’s easier for us to plan, and there is also a separate area for people with appointments”, Susanne Drapalik, chief physician at the Samaritan League, told reporters.

The Austrian capital will also extend the opening hours of the vaccination centres to meet demand.

READ ALSO: Covid-19 in Austria: When should you get your fourth vaccine dose?

Austria’s government calls for blood donations

Austria’s hospitals are running out of blood, Die Presse reported. As a result, the Austrian Red Cross and the federal government are asking the population to donate blood.

“I urge you to take the time, go donate blood, and save the life of a fellow human being”, Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) said.

As of next September, there will also be non-discriminatory blood donation in Austria, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. However, it is worth noting that several people are still excluded from blood donation in Austria. In addition, the authorities require a fluent knowledge of German so that you can go through the pre-interview and fill out the forms without help or a translator.

Additionally, people who were born or lived for more than six months in several countries where there are diseases such as malaria, including Brazil, for example, have a life ban on blood donation in Austria, according to the Red Cross website.

READ ALSO: Austria to end blood donor discrimination based on sexual orientation

Rain showers bring temperatures down in Austria

From Vorarlberg to Upper Austria, there will be clouds interchanging with sunny times during the morning. Some regions will also have rain showers and thunderstorms.

In the rest of the country, including Vienna, the sun often shines, at least during the morning, Austria’s central meteorological and geodynamic institute ZAMG says.

From the late morning, more and more clouds start forming and accumulating, especially over the mountains and in the hills, and will likely bring more thunderstorms and rain. However, it remains sunny and dry for longer in Austria’s far east and southeast.

Day maximum temperatures throughout Austria go from 24C to 34C. At night, heavy downpours are expected, and even thunderstorms in the eastern half of Austria. The lowest temperatures of the night are between 14C and 20C.

READ ALSO: Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms

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