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Austria to tighten Covid measures for unvaccinated from Wednesday
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz wears a mask with the national flag of Austria. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP
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8 September 2021
12:59 CEST

Austria will tighten a range of Covid measures from next Wednesday onwards, however these will primarily apply only to those who have not been vaccinated.
On Wednesday, the Austrian government decided it would tighten Covid measures as of Wednesday, September 15th. 
The announcement came amid rising infection rates and hospitalisations, including in ICUs. 
From September 15th, antigen tests will only be valid for 24 hours. This has been the case in Vienna for some time, however these tests had a 48-hour validity in the rest of the country. 
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at the press conference “the answer has to be vaccination and not lockdown”. 
Kurz said the measures would apply to the unvaccinated only, in order to protect them and to protect hospitals from becoming overloaded. 
Unvaccinated people will be required to wear FFP2 masks in non-essential shops such as clothing retailers, stationery shops and other retailers where non-essential items are sold. 
Those who are vaccinated will not need to wear a mask in these areas, although masks are still recommended. 
One change which applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people is that FFP2 masks will again be required in supermarkets and public transport; currently, only cloth face coverings are required here. 
Stricter measures were also laid out if ICU capacity is further limited. 
Kurz had announced the bed occupancy in the intensive care units should become the new lead indicator for Covid-19 measures instead of the seven-day incidence. 
If more than 15 percent of capacity is reached for seven successive days, unvaccinated people will no longer be allowed into nightclubs and larger events, i.e. only those who are vaccinated or who have recently recovered from the virus will be allowed to enter. 
If more than 20 percent is reached for seven successive days, antigen tests will no longer be valid for bars, restaurants, gyms, hairdressers and other areas where the 3G rule applies, with only those who have been vaccinated, recently recovered or who have taken a negative PCR test allowed to enter. 
Governors ‘annoyed’ at lack of consultation
The governors of the federal states, particularly Carinthia and Vienna, have expressed annoyance that there has not been more consultation ahead of the government giving information on the next pandemic measures, broadcaster ORF reports.
Vienna’s Mayor Michael Ludwig called for discussions on equal terms and refuted Kurz’s claim that the pandemic was “over” for vaccinated people, pointing out that if intensive care units were filled with people with Covid-19, it could affect vaccinated people needing treatment for other illnesses or accidents.
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