Covid-19 in Austria: British Mutation Dominant

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: March 9, 2021; 09:35 ♦ (Vindobona)

The British Covid-19 virus mutation is now the dominant form in Austria. Currently, the British variation accounts for almost 60 percent of the infections, while the regular type is only detected in around 36 percent of the cases. Austria's Health Minister Rudolf Anschober demands obedience to the protective measures and recognizes an uncomfortable rise of Covid-19 patients in hospitals and intensive care units.

The South African and especially the British Covid-19 virus mutations account for a rise in infections among Austrians. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM / Public Domain Description

Within a few weeks, the British Covid-19 virus mutation has become established and meanwhile dominant in Austria.

Already more than 40,000 positive samples have been tested for suspected mutation.

The wild type, strain variant, has decreased in Austria from 61.5 percent in week 5 to 36.3 percent in week 8.

In parallel, the British variant has gained dominance in the same period and now already accounts for 58.4 percent.

Meanwhile, 11,576 cases of the British variant and 454 cases of the South African variant had been detected in the mutations.

The exception is the Tyrolean district of Schwaz, where the South African variant still dominates.

Austria's Health Minister Rudolf Anschober:

"For Austria, this dominance of the British variant is not good news. It is significantly more contagious than the parent virus, according to the current calculations in Austria by 23 percent. This is reflected in a very different spread pattern: while the parent virus has a reproduction factor of around 1, this is an alarmingly high value of 1.23 for the British variant. Therefore, the stronger the spread of the British variant, the higher the risk of infection in Austria."

Anschober added:

"We must therefore counteract with all our strength in Austria. Therefore, we are implementing further protective measures step by step: the safety measures in districts that are particularly affected (including exit testing), focal checks by the executive for compliance with the measures throughout Austria in municipalities with high increases, the introduction of prevention concepts in companies with more than 50 employees, the further expansion of the FFP2 obligation and the further expansion of testing."

Currently, Austria sees a daily rise of infection numbers and an unfortunate increase of the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals and intensive care units.

The Health Minister, therefore, demands:

"Especially in times of a more contagious infection situation, it is necessary to adhere to the protective measures, to consistently wear the FFP2 masks, to keep the minimum distance of 2 meters and to reduce contacts to the necessary extent. After Easter, things should get easier through higher temperatures, less time spent indoors, and more rapid vaccination coverage of the population."