Austria’s coronavirus cases exceed 5,000

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Austria exceeded 5,000 on Tuesday with 28 deaths reported, according to local health authorities.

Nearly 1,000 more people have tested positive for coronavirus, taking the country’s total number of cases to 5,182 as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Most cases in the Alpine country are mild, while 211 patients are hospitalized, with 24 requiring intensive care, according to the Health Ministry.

Health Minister Rudolf Anschober announced on Monday that over the past week the testing capacity of his country has doubled from 1,000 to 1,500 tests a day in ten laboratories to currently around 2,000 to 4,000 tests a day in 20 laboratories.

A further increase is envisaged, with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz maintaining on Tuesday that with enough resources, up to 15,000 tests a day could be run.

The chancellor emphasised that “intensive procurement and logistics” are being carried out in terms of protective equipment and coronavirus test kits.

Aid is on the way from Germany, Malaysia and China, said Kurz. Of the 20 million protective masks from China, the first five million are expected this week.

“We are convinced that we are doing the right thing, but it takes time for the measures to have effect,” Kurz tweeted. “On Friday we will have valid figures and information about how effective the measures are and what scenario we can expect.”

Since the exit restrictions was imposed on March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic, there have been a total of 138,000 more people registered unemployed, said Johannes Kopf, chief of the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS), on Tuesday afternoon.

All companies are asked to use the short-time working model to secure jobs. The government has decided on a package for hardship cases and emergency aid, which are currently being finalised and will be available soon, said Kurz on Twitter.