Austria virus case counts nearly double

·1-min read

Coronavirus case counts have risen sharply in Austria in the last 24 hours, health officials warn, with agencies reporting almost a doubling in new cases.

But it remained unclear what the 9761 new cases meant.

Hospitals reported that the situation remains stable, both in standard wards and in the intensive care stations.

One source of concern is that the numbers are rising in the regions of Tyrol and Salzburg, both of which are popular among tourists.

Some tourism branch bosses have begun demanding a quick, short lockdown in the hopes that will disrupt transmissions and allow them to salvage the rest of the season.

Others noted that some tourist destinations are already de facto shut down, since so many staff members have been forced into quarantine that there is no one left to do the work.

"If we don't do something now, then we're going to have a lockdown in fact because the system is close to collapse," said Christian Harisch, head of the Kitzbuhel tourism association, in comments to the APA news agency.

A meeting is scheduled on Thursday between national and regional leaders to discuss the actual state of the pandemic in the country.

The Omicron variant has hit Austria hard and has been the dominant variant since the new year started.

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