A health worker takes a sample for a Covid-19 test in Vienna, Austria, on September 23.
A health worker takes a sample for a Covid-19 test in Vienna, Austria, on September 23. Georg Hochmuth/APA/Getty Images

The Austrian capital, Vienna, has recorded 306 new infections within the past 24 hours.

Austria reported 1,028 new infections on Tuesday, bringing its total to 57,324, according to the country’s public health authority, the Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES). 

Authorities there say 611 Covid-19 patients are being treated in hospital, 107 of whom are in intensive care units. Austria’s death toll stands at 861, the tally shows. 

Last week, Austria recorded 1,209 new cases in 24 hours — its highest daily increase since the outbreak began, surpassing the record set in March when the initial wave of infections was at its peak. The country has seen a gradual rise in daily coronavirus infections since late June. 

In March this year, popular ski resorts in the western Austrian province of Tyrol were identified as one of the hotspots in spreading the coronavirus across Europe.

An Austrian expert commission on Monday criticized the country’s Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, for what they said was his government’s poor handling of the crisis.

Crowds of people potentially infected with Covid-19 were allowed to leave the resorts of Ischgl and St. Anton in March — helping to spread the virus across Europe — before officials announced quarantine measures.  

Ronald Rohrer, head of the panel appointed by the province of Tyrol to look into Austria’s handling of the outbreak, told reporters this was “a wrong decision, from an epidemiological perspective.”

“The Austrian chancellor announced the imposition of the quarantines unexpectedly, without immediate authority, and without substantive preparations,” Rohrer said.

Kurz announced a quarantine on March 13, but his government had not informed the local authorities which had to implement the measures, the commission found.

The Austrian Chancellor said foreign tourists would be allowed to leave, but according to the commission, this led to a panicked rush instead of an orderly departure.

In September, Kurz said that the country’s upcoming ski season would go ahead, but that apres-ski parties will be banned to try and curb the spread of coronavirus.

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