In this post you can find information about the current situation regarding COVID-19 in Austria, and specifically in Villach and Carinthia. Answers to the most important questions are also provided for you here.
We aim to give you an overview with information collected from different sources. Due to the rapidly changing situation, we recommend that you check out the links provided in the text for more detailed and up-to-date information. Please be aware that there is a lot of fake news spreading right now on social media! Remember to stay calm and keep yourself informed through official sites and trusted media sources.
24/7 access to official and trustworthy information on your mobile phone via WhatsApp: information service provided by the World Health Organization
Evaluation of risk level of different areas within Austria: official map of the COVID-19 traffic light system
291,437 total cases to date in Austria (3,447 deaths / 180,157 recovered) | 15,779 in Carinthia - Right now 113,033 people are currently sick in Austria, and 8,245 in Carinthia. Please keep in mind that these are only the reported cases - studies (German or English) have shown that there are vastly more cases that go unreported, but which are still fueling the pandemic.
Here you can find the latest updates regarding COVID-19 in Austria. For general information please take a look at the corresponding section in the FAQ part of the page.
Protective Measures and Restrictions:
Transportation & Travel Restrictions:
Here you can find the latest information regarding COVID-19 in Villach/Carinthia. For more general information please have a look at the section “What is the situation in Villach?”
Protective Measures and Restrictions:
Supportive Measures - #WirHaltenZusammen:
The risk of severe disease associated with a COVID-19 infection for people in the EU/EEA is currently considered moderate for the general population and high for older adults and individuals with chronic underlying conditions. Due to how quickly COVID-19 spreads, serious and significant protective measures to slow its spread were put in place by the Austrian government from March until the end of April. Chancellor Kurz and his administration repeatedly expressed that the highest priority during that time was the protection of the local population as well as workers and guests from around the world, and especially those who seem most severely affected, such as elderly people. The Austrian government called on every single person to do what they could to stop the exponential spread of COVID-19 by reducing social contact to an absolute minimum. As the protective measures were proven effective and helped to reduce the number of COVID-19 infections in Austria, a step-by-step easing of the protective measures was implemented. Now, as the infection rate in Austria is rising again, protective measures have been reinstated or tightened.
Without a complete societal shutdown we cannot stop the spread of this coronavirus. However, by limiting our social contact we can definitely slow its spread, which will ensure that hospitals and health services have time to prepare so they are ready when more people do get sick, and do not get overwhelmed with too many patients at once. These measures also help to prevent the exponential growth of the virus (see graphics) and in turn, are necessary to protect the groups who seem to be most severely affected by this disease, namely elderly people and those with pre-existing health conditions. Everybody carries responsibility, so let’s work together! If you have further questions, you can call the coronavirus info service hotline of AGES at 0800 555621.
Check out the video below to see what flattening the curve really means:
The COVID-19 traffic light system is a tool that helps to show the danger of infection by region and helps set adapted protective measures for those areas. It was introduced on September 4th.
The different levels of the corona traffic light system are decided based on the region’s rate of infection, the number of conducted tests, a cluster analysis, and resources in the health sector. These numbers are used by the commission to make recommendations on a weekly basis. Thus, the system will be updated at least once a week in order to show the current state of the virus in each of Austria’s regions. (09/04/2020) Please check out the official corona traffic light map for further information.
Please be aware that nationwide protective measures supersede the traffic light system regulations. For example, if there is a nationwide measure in place to wear masks in all shops and schools, then this must be done even in "green" districts.
At the moment there are the following restrictions on entering or leaving Austria (09/20/2020 - please check the "Latest Information" section above for the most up-to-date information):
The leaders of the European Union and Schengen area countries still recommend a great deal of caution around incoming travel. The external borders of the EU were closed until June 30th and European countries have reopened their borders to other countries incrementally, though some are now closing or becoming restricted again due to an increase in infections (9/20/20). On the official Re-open EU website you can find detailed and current information on any travel restrictions that may be in place in EU countries.
Air traffic has slowly resumed in Austria and there are currently no landing bans. Please be aware that there are still limitations and also that schedules and flights may change at the last minute due to the uncertain situation of the worldwide development of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check the websites of the official country authorities as well as the information provided by the respective travel operator.
Limitations are still in place when it comes to travelers coming from or going to other countries within Europe. Citizens or residents of Austria, or citizens or residents of the following countries, may enter Austria from these countries without a negative coronavirus test and without a quarantine, provided they have not been in another country for the past 10 days: Andorra, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain (only the Canary Islands), Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Vatican City (09/20/2020). If a citizen or resident of Austria or one of these countries has been in a “risk area” country in the last 10 days, a current negative PCR test or a 10-day home quarantine is required. For further information and complete details, please see the Austrian government’s official website (German only).
Entry into Austria from the following “risk area” countries by Austrian or EU/EEA citizens or permanent residents is allowed only with a current negative PCR test or if you go directly into a 10-day quarantine upon entering Austria: Egypt, Albania, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Iran, Croatia, Kosovo, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Senegal, Serbia, Spain (except the Canary Islands), South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Hubei province (China). Entry into Austria from these countries by anyone else is generally not allowed right now, with the following exceptions: health and care personnel, seasonal agricultural or tourism workers, humanitarian aid workers, or diplomatic personnel. Entry by these people is possible only with a negative PCR test and a 10-day quarantine (which can be ended as soon as a negative PCR test can be shown). Note: Children under the age of seven who travel to Austria from risk areas do not have to take a PCR test. For further information and complete details, please see the Austrian government’s official website (German only).
A recent directive aims to make commuting more efficient for people who have to frequently travel abroad for their jobs. Entry into Austria will be possible without restrictions for commuters from countries which are considered risk areas, but it will be mandatory to fill out a form in order to enter or travel through Austria. (08/22/2020). Please check the Austrian government’s travel warning page before undertaking any travel abroad!
The train services of the ÖBB are again operating their transnational services(06/18/2020). Check out the official homepage for information regarding schedules and tickets. Please be also aware that mouth and nose protection are required on public transportation and you will be fined in case of non-compliance.
In order to get the latest information about current travel restrictions and public transportation, as well as short-term changes, we recommend getting in touch with relevant authorities (Austria or Carinthia) before setting out on your journey.
The regular railway and bus schedule within Austria has been in effect again since May 11th (05/04/2020). Please check the ÖBB rail information site in order to get information about train cancellations. When travelling, please keep in mind that it is mandatory to wear mouth and nose protection in all types of public transportation and that you may be charged in case of non-compliance.
We will provide information if this situation changes.
Measures to combat the spread of the virus have been very effective and over the summer a step-by-step reopening of social life and businesses was implemented (all current updates can be found under "Latest Information" on the top of the page). The government calls on everyone to follow the protective measures that are still in effect, in order to limit the spread of the virus due to the reopening of businesses and social life:
All measures that are important to protect others - like mouth and nose protection in public places and hand hygiene - will remain an inherent part of our social coexistence.
Please be cautious of the numerous fake news articles on social media and stay informed through official and trustworthy sites.
Actions have also been taken in Villach due to the coronavirus. All current updates can be found under "Latest Information" on the top of the page or at www.villach.at/corona (German only!):
Protective Measures and Restrictions:
Supportive Measures - #WirHaltenZusammen:
Businesses and private individuals:
The national government provides a “Corona Crisis Fund” worth €38 billion for businesses (03/19/2020), in order to support employers and save jobs:
Also, your electricity, water, and heat will not get cut off in case of delayed payments! This exception for private homes and small business customers will be in effect until the end of June. (05/01/2020) People who can’t afford to pay their housing rent due to the corona crisis are safe from eviction or cancellation of the housing contract. This renter protection applies to the period from April 1st till June 30th. Renters will have until December 31st to pay their back rent (04/02/2020). Furthermore, there is a lot of support for families: An additional €30 million of the Familienlastenausgleichsfonds (family expenses compensation fund) will be provided for families in need due to the Coronavirus crisis (04/09/2020). In addition, the Austrian government plans a one-time payment of €450 for unemployed people and a family bonus of €360 per child. Furthermore, the lowest income tax rate is planned to be reduced from 25 to 20%. (06/14/2020) Also, the government is providing up to 12,000 laptops and tablets for pupils from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and hard hit families who do not have devices for distance learning at home. These will be given out at the end of April and can be borrowed until the end of the school year (04/09/2020) There might also be other institutions which can provide additional support during the Corona crisis: e.g. especially hard hit students (who lost their jobs and aren’t entitled to receive unemployment benefits) might apply for support of the social funds of the ÖH (Austrian National Union of Students federal body of Representatives). A general refund of tuition fees for students is not planned. In individual cases refunds might be possible if university services were clearly not received (05/07/2020)
The Ministry of Finance has started its own hotline at 050/233770 for all economic questions regarding the Coronavirus crisis (emergency funds, tax deferments, deadline extensions, etc.). On their website you can also find a collection of frequently asked questions. (04/19/2020)
Moreover, regional governments might have introduced additional financial support, like the social and economic “Corona Aid Package” of the City of Villach, which involves measures to support and take pressure off businesses, employers, and employees, in addition to the federal aid package (03/19/2020). The City of Villach has also decided on a reduced fee for the time when the protective measures are in place for those families who still need their child(ren) to go to kindergarten or daycare. Only the first half of March will need to be paid and then the fees will be waived until after Easter. Parents do not have to pay the normal fee when their kids stay at home during this time. (03/25/2020)
For more information please contact the responsible authorities (e.g. WKO) or check out their homepage (only German).
There are currently only a few confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Carinthia. Hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities have reopened under safety measures. If you are coming from another country, please check the information provided by your home country government and embassies in Austria that might share more detailed travel information (for example, the US embassy). However, if you decide not to travel to Carinthia even if you have already booked your holiday, please check with your travel provider, accommodation, or travel insurance agent directly regarding possibilities of a refund. If you need more information regarding travel law, contact the free hotline of the Association for Consumer Information (VKI) 0800 201 211.
The unpredictability of the spread of COVID-19 has led to tense situations worldwide. Travelers should check travel warnings and travel provider websites (like the one from the Vienna Airport) frequently. It is, however, important to know that as increased restrictions in air and travel traffic have been imposed, the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs has strongly recommended against taking unnecessary trips.
Unfortunately, this is not yet very clear. So far we know that it affects elderly people and those with weakened immune systems and pre-existing conditions quite severely. It does not appear to affect most children very much at all.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between this coronavirus, a cold, and the flu, and the vast majority of people so far have had quite mild cases of COVID-19.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
It’s important to note that sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, and headaches are not normally symptoms of coronavirus.
The Austrian Ministry for Social Affairs provides recommendations for protecting yourself against COVID-19. It is recommended that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds several times a day with soap or an alcohol-based disinfectant; greet people with a smile instead of a hug, kiss, or a handshake; avoid direct contact with people showing symptoms of illness; if you have to cough, cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue instead of using your hands; try to avoid touching your face.
To add a little fun to all these recommendations, as well as learn how to properly wash your hands to really get rid of germs, you can create your own hand washing instructions accompanied by your favourite song!
If you notice symptoms or believe you have been infected, it is extremely important to avoid all social contact with others! Do not go to public spaces, do not use public transportation, and do not go to the doctor or the hospital unless it is a true emergency. Please isolate yourself in your home and call the Austrian health service hotline at 1450. From them you will receive further instructions on how to proceed.
If you are unsure, you can also do a self-check by answering a questionnaire online.
For further information please check out the following links and the links provided above in the text for the most important websites providing information in English.
There is a learning app called uugot.it (for Android or the Webapp for iOS and desktop) in its early test phase. It provides the latest ORF videos about COVID-19 with German subtitles and the option to translate single words into different languages. You can find further information on the official website.
We have done our best to ensure that this information is complete and that the most important news is present in this post. Nevertheless, we do not assume responsibility for everything being perfectly up-to-date and complete at all times. We will do our utmost to update it as often as we can! (And please send us a message through our Facebook page if you see something incomplete or outdated!)
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!
PS: And here’s someone you should really listen to. ;-)