Now fixed: Mask remains mandatory in Vienna until next year

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In the federal capital Vienna, the mask remains mandatory in public transport.

Corona numbers have been declining slightly in Austria for several weeks. Nevertheless, masks are still mandatory on public transport in Vienna. Despite all relaxations, the city government has already opted for the stricter way in the past.

As a spokesman for the city’s health councilor Peter Hacker now confirmed to “Heute” newspaper, the mask requirement will continue to apply in Vienna’s public transport systems and pharmacies.

The current federal ordinance runs until January 15, 2023, and the Vienna ordinance also runs until that date and includes stricter measures.

He said that Vienna got off lightly in the previous wave due to several favored factors. The coming wave, however, will start as early as December around the Christmas vacations, according to Hacker. In addition, there will be a double burden of influenza.

On the other hand, which virus variant will dominate the winter wave is not yet known. According to molecular biologist Ulrich Elling, there are two possible European-wide candidates, BQ.1(.1) and XBB, respectively. They have significant growth advantages over BA.4/BA.5, and it is still unclear whether they also cause more severe diseases.

“So, after the coming winter wave is still with many omens, there are two deductions from this: on the one hand, there is no reason to tighten the measures. On the other hand, at the same time, there is also no reason to relax the measures for the time being,” Hacker’s office said.

He said there are also regular discussions with experts; the situation is constantly re-evaluated. “Vienna differs from the federal government in two fields: only in Vienna is there a mask requirement in pharmacies and public transport. The latter alone because about 1.6 million passengers daily use the Vienna lines, not even counting the S-Bahn. It is by far the densest setting in all of Austria. That’s why we will act very cautiously here,” it says.

“On the other hand, Vienna has a PCR test obligation for access to old people’s and nursing homes and hospitals. This is because here, the most vulnerable people are very close together in one place: Elderly and sick people. The analyses of the last few weeks show that Vienna has experienced a strain in the hospitals but has come through the last weeks and months with a below-average coating due to the measures taken. All these factors give us the right not to rush into anything and decide further when the time is right.”

  • source: heute.at/picture: pixabay.com
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