Due to the increase in Covid-19 and flu cases, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) recommended on Wednesday that masks should be re-worn in situations where large numbers of elderly or sick people gather.
This particularly affects areas such as hospitals, nursing homes or doctor’s offices. Masks should also be worn when people are close to each other in crowded public transport. However, there is currently no explicit obligation to wear masks as there is no fear of hospitals being overwhelmed.
Rauch explained: “We are in the middle of a corona wave.”
Rauch explained in his statement: “We are in the middle of the corona wave. The national wastewater monitoring system shows this very clearly.” At the same time, the flu is also gaining momentum. However, he emphasized that hospitals are not currently overwhelmed. According to the dashboard on hospital admissions for respiratory diseases, there are currently 10 people in intensive care units due to Covid-19, while there are no patients in intensive care due to flu (preliminary figures as of calendar week 47). Rauch pointed out that wearing a mask provides protection for both the person and others, especially during periods when the risk of contracting various infectious diseases increases.
Health Minister Rauch recommends wearing a mask, but it is not mandatory
The Minister of Health also called on the public to benefit from the free Covid-19 vaccine, which is considered the best protection against the severe course of the disease. There are also enough drugs available to treat Covid-19. In addition, this year, for the first time, the flu vaccine will be offered at discounted prices in all federal states, especially by family physicians. This vaccine is especially recommended for people aged 60 and over, people with pre-existing conditions, infants and young children.
Already on Tuesday, the Vienna Health Association (WIGEV) introduced stricter measures in its premises due to the increase in Covid-19 cases. This includes mandatory testing for patients with even mild symptoms; however, Covid-19 is no longer a reportable disease since July 1. Special protective measures were also taken in hospitals and nursing homes, especially in areas with vulnerable patients.
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