Germany has put Austria on the list of Corona high-risk areas again, in view of the sharp increase in the number of infections caused by the Omikron virus variant. As the Robert Koch Institute announced on its website on Friday, Austria will be considered a high-risk area from next Sunday. This means that entry registration and quarantine for non-immunized people are required. Austria had previously been on the German list of high-risk countries from November 14 to Christmas Day (December 25).
The municipalities of Mittelberg (Vorarlberg) and Jungholz (Tyrol) as well as the Riss Valley in the municipality of Vomp and Eben am Achensee (Tyrol), which are only accessible from Germany, are again exempt from the measure.
Köstinger worried about tourism
Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) pointed out in a broadcast on the decision on Friday that the restriction due to the reclassification does not affect vaccinated people: “Anyone who has been vaccinated can spend a safe and relaxing holiday in Austria at any time.” However, people who are neither vaccinated nor recovered must enter a ten-day quarantine, from which testing can be released after five days at the earliest. The separation obligation also applies to children, whereby the quarantine ends automatically after five days for small children under six years of age, even without free testing.
Köstinger expressed concern for winter tourism because of the mandatory quarantine requirement for unvaccinated children under the age of twelve when returning to Germany: “Even if families with children under the age of 12 only make up around a fifth of our foreign guests, this regulation is problematic for Austria because all children who are not yet fully immunized must go into quarantine for at least five days, even if their parents are fully immunized.” The ÖVP minister therefore wants to “continue to work to ensure that the recommendations of the European Union are implemented” – namely that Germany exempts under-12s who are traveling under adult supervision from the obligation to provide proof.
Köstinger also referred to the high test rate in Austria, which could also have influenced Germany’s decision: “This development is disappointing, but it was to be expected and a logical consequence. Because the German criteria for risk classification are based not only on the speed of spread and hospitalization rate but also on the 7-day incidence and the test positive rate. Here it has to be said that 32 times as many tests are carried out in Austria than in Germany.”
16,822 new infections and seven deaths
The Austria-wide seven-day incidence is now four-digit with 1,004.1. On Friday, the ministries reported 16,822 new infections within 24 hours. After Wednesday with 17,006 new cases, this is the second highest daily value since the pandemic began almost two years ago. The federal capital Vienna reported almost 5,000 other infected people.
There was a slight increase in hospital patients on Friday. A total of 903 Covid 19 patients had to be treated as inpatients, 14 more than on Thursday. Most hospital patients are in Vienna with 290, 23 more Covid 19 sufferers have been added here since the previous day alone, and an increase of 52 patients was registered within the past week. The federal capital recorded a doubling of the daily number of cases in the past week. There was a slight decline in the number of seriously ill patients across Austria. There were 228 patients in intensive care units on Friday, eight fewer than on Thursday.
Seven more deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 13,905 people have died as a result of a coronavirus infection. In the past week alone, 75 deaths have been registered. 155.7 people per 100,000 inhabitants have died from or with Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
44.9 percent of Austrians have basic immunization
6.38 million Austrians and thus 71.4 percent had valid vaccination protection on Friday. More than four million people – exactly 4,006,363 – had received the third vaccination as of Thursday and thus completed the basic immunization of the corona vaccination. That is 44.9 percent of the total population. The highest rate of boosted people – as in general when it comes to immunization – is in Burgenland. Here, more than half of the residents, exactly 53 percent, have already received the third corona vaccination.
The 16,822 new infections within 24 hours mean that the weekly average continues to rise. This was already 12,814 on Friday. There were now 117,790 confirmed active cases across Austria, 10,973 more than the day before. In the past week alone, 89,696 new infections were registered across Austria. Since last week, the number of cases has almost doubled due to the dominance of the more contagious omicron variant. Seven days ago – on January 7th – the ministries had reported 8,786 new infections within 24 hours.
According to an update from the Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) and Graz University of Technology, the effective number of reproductions has increased to 1.46. Last week it was still 1.45. This means that, statistically speaking, 100 infected people are currently infecting 146 other people with the corona virus.
There have already been 1,411,421 confirmed corona cases in Austria since the beginning of the pandemic. 1,279,726 people are considered recovered. Vienna reported the most new infections since Thursday with 4,932, Lower Austria 2,548, Tyrol 2,425 and Upper Austria 2,030. Salzburg registered 1,861 other infected people, Styria 1,387, Vorarlberg 821, Carinthia 561 and Burgenland 257.
The federal state with the highest seven-day incidence is currently Salzburg with 1,861.2, followed by Tyrol, Vienna and Vorarlberg (1,556.9, 1,393.7 and 943.5 respectively). It is followed by Lower Austria (778.8), Upper Austria (774.1), Styria (608.5), Carinthia (585.3) and Burgenland (426.3).
Problems with the PCR test system outside of Vienna
There have been almost a million corona tests since Thursday. But the PCR test system has caused problems in large parts of Austria in the past few days, and outside of Vienna there could no longer be any of these meaningful analyzes in the future. Major General Thomas Starlinger, member of the national Covid crisis coordination (GECKO), had announced a change in the test strategy in the “ZIB Nacht”.
Since Thursday, 774,748 meaningful PCR tests have been registered across Austria, with a positive rate of 2.2 percent. Around 60 percent of the analyzes were carried out in Vienna, the positive rate in the federal capital was around one percent with such a high number of tests. In the past week, around 651,000 PCR tests were analyzed daily across Austria, two percent of which delivered positive results.
In comparison, 25,286 PCR tests were registered exactly one year ago. On January 14, 2021, the positive rate for this small number of analyzes was 13.85 percent. At that time, the ministries had registered 3,510 new infections and 53 deaths within 24 hours. At that time, however, only around 68,000 people had been vaccinated against the corona virus for the first time, and there was still a shortage of vaccines. Exactly one year ago, 2,086 people had to be treated in the hospital, 361 needed intensive care.
Yesterday, Thursday, 54,524 vaccinations were administered across Austria. According to the data from the e-vaccination card, a total of 6,677,304 people have already received at least one vaccination. Exactly 6,377,489 people and thus 71.4 percent of Austrians have a valid vaccination. (apa)