Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) wants to decide in the next few days about a return of the FFP2 mask obligation.
“The Gecko recommendation at the moment is to consider introducing the FFP2 mask obligation in certain areas,” Rauch told Die Presse. “We will continue monitoring the situation for a few days.” If you continue to have the current development, “we will come to the point where we have to act,” the minister said. “The direction will certainly emerge in the coming days.”
Rauch explained that mandatory masks would be introduced in public transportation and food retail, then possibly in indoor public spaces.
Against the backdrop of increasing corona infection dynamics (rising infection numbers and higher hospitalization rates) in Austria, the All-State Covid Crisis Coordination (Gecko) recommended that FFP2 masks be worn more often again on Friday – especially on public transport and indoors. According to a media briefing Friday, the task force also advises people to take advantage of the Corona testing offer.
In addition, the Gecko Commission, which met earlier this week, reiterates the importance of Corona vaccination and Covid-19 medications, saying, “Both go a long way toward protecting against severe disease progression.”
The infection incidence in Austria remains at 93 percent, dominated by the omicron subvariant BA.5 (according to AGES/IMBA surveillance and wastewater sequencing). The virus variants BA.4 and BA.2 are also found in wastewater, and the BA.2.75 subvariant can also be detected in several wastewater treatment plants in Austria, the task force informed. In the individual case analyses by AGES/IMBA, the proportion of BA.2.75 was most recently 1.16 percent of the individual cases evaluated. Other omicron subvariants occur sporadically.
“In recent weeks, the development and description of new coronavirus variants have been very dynamic,” said virologist and Gecko member Andreas Bergthaler. He noted that several subvariants have evolved from the globally spread omicron variants – especially BA.2 and BA.5 – some of which show considerable regional growth advantages. “What is particularly striking here is that the same mutations have repeatedly arisen independently in different genetic backgrounds. This suggests strong selection pressure and significantly increased fitness of these mutations.”
A new covid-19 vaccine adapted to the omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 is available in Austria. This is rated as particularly effective.
- source: kurier.at/picture: pixabay.com
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