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To curb surging Covid-19 infection rates in the capital, Vienna is introducing additional, tougher measures, including a vaccination programme for children over five.
Published: 13 November 2021 13:55 CET
People visit the recently opened Christmas market at Vienna's Rathausplatz despite concerns about rising infection rates in the city. picture alliance/dpa/APA | Georg Hochmuth
Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig said in a statement on Friday that the city authorities would be introducing the extra measures to “keep in check… the dangerous development” of infection rates in the city.
“People’s health comes first. And it is our duty to continue to act now,” he said.
In the last seven days, there were 443.3 cases per 100,000 people in Vienna, according to the latest figures on Austria’s Covid dashboard from November 11th. Case numbers have increased approximately four-fold from a month earlier.
New level introduced One of the measures in the five-point plan is the introduction of the so-called 2G+ level – proof of vaccination or recovery and also a negative PCR test no more than 48 hours old.
This new level will apply to all events where there are more than 25 people (including sporting events) and for going to bars and restaurants in the city in the evening.
If 2G+ applies, then you don’t need to wear a mask.
Vienna City council spokesman Mario Dujakovic outlines the steps on Twitter.
FFP2 masks indoors Customers will also be required to wear FFP2 masks in eating establishments when they are not at their table or at allocated bar seating. Staff will also have to wear FFP2 masks.
Mask-wearing will also be enforced in all public indoor spaces now. This includes all shops and services as well as in the workplace where there may be close contact with other people.
Home-working encouraged All those who work for the city will be pushed to work from home wherever possible as the City wants to lead by example in the hope the private sector will also follow suit.
Booster interval cut In addition, from Saturday, Vienna residents will be able to get a third booster vaccination only four months after their second dose, not six months as originally planned.
By reducing the interval, the city hopes to stabilise infection rates, reverse rising case numbers and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.
Vaccination rates in Austria are increasing, albeit at a much slower rate than that seen in other European countries, this chart from Our World in Data shows.
Jabs for over-fives The new measures also include the start of vaccinations for children between five and 11 as of Monday at the Austria Centre Vienna (ACV), making Vienna the first EU region to vaccinate children of this age.
Children can be registered for the jabs (Pfizer/Biontech only) from Saturday. Because they’re minors, it’s not possible to create a separate account for them so parents or guardians will need to add them as a family member in their own account in the Personal Data (Personendaten) section once you’ve logged in before you can make a booking.
In the pilot phase of these vaccinations, healthcare professionals will only be able to give around 200 shots a day as they will need more time for detailed discussions with parents and children beforehand.
Vaccination slots for this age group are available every day between 7-10am and 3-7.45pm.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has not yet issued an authorisation for any of the vaccines to be used for this age group but member states have the right to do so anyway to respond to a public health emergency.
LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules?
Travellers entering the country no longer need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test, but masks are still mandatory in some places.
Published: 16 May 2022 10:00 CEST
From Monday, May 16th, travellers coming into Austria no longer need to present proof that they have either been vaccinated against Covid-19, have tested negative for the disease, or recently recovered from it.
Previously, the so-called 3G rules were in place for all people coming into Austria, with very few exceptions.
The government over the weekend dropped the requirements just ahead of warmer months, stating that the epidemiological situation no longer justified them.
On Sunday, 15th, Austria reported 3,777 new coronavirus cases after just under 110,000 PCR tests were taken. In total, 807 people are currently hospitalised with the disease, and 62 are in intensive care units. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18,303 people have died from Covid-19 in Austria.
Despite dropping the entry requirements, the federal government reiterated that the rules could change, mainly if a variant of concern is found.
Domestically, Austria still has a few coronavirus restrictions in place, including an FFP2 mask mandate in some areas.
These are the latest rules you need to be aware of:
FFP2 mask mandate
The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask only applies in enclosed spaces of hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets, and administrative buildings.
The mask mandate is no longer in place for enclosed places like gyms, restaurants and bars, and cultural establishments, but masks are still recommended.
In order to obtain an early lifting of the restrictions, a free PCR test can be carried out. If the test is negative or with a CT value (short for Cycle Threshold and is the gold standard for detecting Covid-19) above 30, the isolation can be lifted.
If the value is below 30, then you must remain in isolation.
Vienna doesn’t follow the ‘traffic restriction’, so the only way to end the 10-day isolation is with a PCR test (negative or CT value below 30) after two symptom-free days.
You can find more information on federal restrictions on the government website here.
The 3G rule
A 3G rule (proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, recently recovered from the disease or has a negative test) is generally only needed for visitors, employees and service providers in hospitals and care homes.
In Vienna, on the other hand, the rules are stricter.
Visitors and workers need to have the 3G proof plus a negative PCR test. However, the city has dropped 2G rules for gastronomy and nightclubs – the only places where it was still required to show proof of vaccination or recovery.