The Fourth Corona Wave in Austria: Admission to Discos and Nightclubs Only for the Vaccinated?

More+More+ ♦ Published: August 23, 2021; 15:02 ♦ (Vindobona)

Unvaccinated people in Austria will soon no longer be able to party. Because the fourth wave with rising infection numbers rolls over the country, the government plans hard measures for the autumn to be expected.

Starting in the fall, when social life shifts back indoors, a 1G regime may become necessary, for example in night bars (Picture: Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, Bar 26E). / Picture: © Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna

Starting in October, the hotly debated 1G rule will apply in the nighttime gastronomy sector.

Anyone who goes to clubs, bars or discos will then have to be fully immunized.

Eating a schnitzel in a restaurant or going to a coffee house will still be possible with tests. 

1-G in discos possible from autumn if infection figures continue to rise: Until then, increase vaccination rate and offer booster shots

Austria is still in the top third in Europe in terms of infection figures, although Austria has a much higher testing rate than most other European countries.

Nevertheless, for some weeks now, the infection figures have been rising again, just as in many other European countries.

In contrast to the spring, the hospitalization rate is significantly lower and the number of people currently in hospital is around 320.

Compared to August last year, however, Austria is currently recording higher figures - both in terms of new infections and hospitalizations.

The majority of those currently hospitalized have not yet received a vaccination.

In terms of infection figures, the proportion of those who have not been vaccinated is also many times higher than for those who have been fully immunized. For example, the 7-day incidence in the 18-59 age group is 35 among the fully vaccinated and 192 among the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

The trends indicate that the reason for the strong growth is the higher probability of infection of the delta variant. The delta variant is expected to have 40-60% higher transmissibility than the alpha variant (formerly known as the British variant). According to a Chinese pre-print study, the viral load could even be up to 1,000 times higher than the "wild type".

So far, the high numbers of infections have not led to an overload of hospital capacities.

Countries such as the United Kingdom and Malta had already seen a massive increase in the number of infections at the beginning of the summer. The numbers in these countries have since declined, but are now rising again. In countries such as the USA or Israel, the numbers have already been rising massively for weeks.

Experts confirm that vaccination is the only effective long-term measure in the fight against the pandemic.

A new evaluation confirms the effectiveness of vaccination: according to a study, the vaccination effectiveness for the period February to mid-August 2021 for the age group 40-59 years is around 91%. This means that out of 100 fully vaccinated individuals, 91 were protected from symptomatic SARS-CoV2 infection by the vaccination.

Austria is therefore prioritizing the following - in addition to the basic and protective measures that have been in place to date:

1) 1G regulation may be necessary starting in the fall in areas with a particularly high risk of infection, such as night catering: The federal government has always emphasized that the approach we are taking is a risk-based approach. In night catering, we have the situation where many unvaccinated people meet vaccinated people. Therefore, there is a particular risk of so-called superspreader events here. These must be prevented as far as possible. Starting in the fall, when social life shifts back indoors, infection rates continue to rise, and vaccination rates among the young remain low, a 1G regime may become necessary, for example in night catering.

Federal Chancellor Kurz: "Austria has coped comparatively well with the Corona pandemic so far. But we must be well prepared for the fall, because the numbers will rise again. If the numbers continue to rise, then we need the 1G rule for discos and nightclubs. With vaccination, we have the best means in hand to cope with the pandemic and protect our health care system. Therefore, we must now continue to vaccinate as much as possible to protect ourselves and others."

2) Continue to increase vaccination coverage: The Chancellor's Office is stepping up target-group-specific activities in the nationwide Austria Vaccinates campaign to restore the rate of first-time vaccinations and continuously increase vaccination coverage. The Ministry of Health maintains a regular exchange with the provinces on vaccination services that are as low-threshold as possible, promotes the exchange of knowledge and experience, and focuses on specific stakeholder communication.

Health Minister Dr. Wolfgang Mückstein: "Current forecasts by scientists:inside show us that we must continue to increase the vaccination rate in order to avoid overloading the health system. I therefore appeal to all those who have not yet been vaccinated: Find out about vaccination and take advantage of one of the numerous vaccination offers. By doing so, you will protect yourself and also your loved ones from a serious illness!"

3) 3rd shot as soon as possible: In addition, our goal must be to maintain the vaccination protection as well as possible. Initial studies show that after just a few months, some people experience a sharp decline in vaccination protection. That is why the National Immunization Panel last week recommended that vulnerable groups and those vaccinated with vector vaccines be offered booster vaccination no earlier than 6 and no later than 9 months after full immunization and that all other people be offered booster vaccination 9 to 12 months after full immunization. Preparations for this are in full swing with the federal states, and the first booster vaccinations will be administered in nursing homes and homes for the elderly as early as the beginning of September.

In addition, Austria is constantly evaluating the epidemiological situation and taking joint planning steps for the fall. In doing so, Austria is in close exchange with the experts and the federal provinces and are also coordinating internationally.