Is Vienna Prepared for the Novel Coronavirus?

More+More+ ♦ Published: January 31, 2020; 18:54 ♦ (Vindobona)

In the meantime, there are four suspected cases of the coronavirus in Austria, which is suspected to be derived from snakes. Vienna has drawn up its own influenza pandemic plan for the city based on the federal pandemic plan.

Coronavirus: Now there are several suspicious cases in Austria. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / ​English Wikipedia user Graham Beards [CC BY (]

Overall, Vienna has earmarked about 500 beds for the care of patients with pandemic diseases in the event of a pandemic. If this number is not sufficient, another 200 or so beds will be available in private hospitals.

WHO emergency without impact on Austria

The health emergency of international significance declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to the corona virus has no direct consequences for Austria for the time being.

The emergency is primarily a preventive measure to be able to help more quickly, especially those countries that have a less developed health system, it was said.

As planned, a new ordinance will soon come into force, according to which it will be possible to restrict not only sick or suspected sick persons, but also, if necessary in a concrete emergency, persons who are already suspected of being infected and who do not yet show any symptoms of illness, in their dealings with other persons.

Four suspected cases were reported from Salzburg.

A couple who recently went on holiday in China on a boat trip are said to have passed through Beijing twice.

Now there are two more suspicious cases: A couple, she Chinese, he Austrian, were also taken to the isolation ward.

Late Friday afternoon, according to ORF, the Salzburg State Clinic confirmed two more suspected cases of coronavirus. It concerns a couple aged 30 and 31 years. The woman is Chinese, her partner Austrian. Both were on home leave in Shanghai. On Friday they appeared with slight breathing difficulties in the internal emergency room of the Salzburg State Hospital.

As in the first suspected case, in which a married couple was admitted with the rescue, the couple was also taken to the isolation ward on Friday.

Their samples have already been sent to the virology department in Vienna for evaluation. A result of all the samples from Salzburg is possibly not expected until Sunday.

Authorities warn against panic-mongering

The degree of infection of the coronavirus is less problematic than that of the classical flu. On average, up to 1,400 people per year die from the influenza virus in Austria. The mortality rate of the coronavirus is just under three percent of all patients, whereby most of the cases are due to serious underlying diseases in old age or cancer.

In December 2019, a pneumonia outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China. On 31 December 2019, the outbreak was traced to a novel strain of coronavirus, which was labeled as 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The first human infections must have occurred in November 2019 and maybe earlier.

As of January 31, 2020 the number of deaths was 214 and more than 8,230 confirmed cases in this coronavirus pneumonia outbreak.

The Wuhan strain has been identified as a new strain of Betacoronavirus from group 2B with an ~70% genetic similarity to the SARS-CoV.

The virus was suspected to have originated in snakes, but many leading researchers disagree with this conclusion.