ONEAustria reported fewer than 2,000 new coronavirus cases, the lowest number since October, when the country’s last regions reopened restaurants and hotels on Monday, December 20.

Austria recorded 1,792 new infections in 24 hours, compared with daily highs of around 13,000 daily cases in late November – a trend that contrasts with rising cases across much of Europe.

In response to a large wave of infections, the small Alpine nation went into one 20-day lockdown on November 22nd. National lockdown restrictions were lifted on December 12 for vaccinated people but remain in place for unvaccinated people.

Since December 12, each of Austria’s nine federal states has set its own reopening policy: in some federal states, restaurants and hotels reopened immediately, while in others they stayed closed for a few days longer.

The capital, Vienna, decided to open shops and Christmas markets last week, but kept restaurants and hotels closed until Monday.

The latest case numbers show the benefits of the lockdown, especially since the Omicron variant has led to rising cases in other parts of Europe. Austria’s seven-day new infection rate is now 215 per 100,000 people, compared with a peak of 1,100 per 100,000 late last month.

In addition, the number of patients in intensive care units has also fallen, albeit more slowly than the number of cases. 475 people are being treated in intensive care units, compared with a peak of 664 in early December.

With the country reopening domestically, Austrian officials have introduced tighter travel restrictions for those arriving from abroad in a bid to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

From December 20, travelers to Austria will need to show proof of either vaccination or recovery in order to enter the country. In addition, two doses of vaccine are no longer considered sufficient for entry: travelers must provide evidence of either a third booster vaccination or a PCR test. Current travel rules and regulations are updated at

Austrian citizens, residents and citizens of the European Union can still enter the country without proof of vaccination or recovery, but will have to face a mandatory 10-day quarantine on arrival.

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