21:38 9 November 2020
Post by: Warsaw Business Journal

Challenges and changes in pandemic - Austria

Top diplomats in Warsaw told the WBJ about the challenges and changes their countries face due to the ongoing pandemic. One of them was Werner Almhofer, Austrian ambassador

Challenges and changes in pandemic - Austria

What have been the biggest challenges faced by your country in the last six months?

Protecting society as a whole against the effects of Covid-19 proved to be a gigantic task. Providing adequate medical supplies as well as protective personal equipment (PPE), introducing a furlough system for employees, giving financial support to companies and enabling the education sector to use distance-learning as a primary tool during lockdown were among the measures taken by the Austrian government. Efforts to contain the pandemic as well as to mitigate its effects continue without interruption and are constantly adjusted to the current situation.

What changes did your country’s education system have to adapt to make sure that students are safe?

Schools in Austria have introduced measures to effectively contain the spread of Covid-19. These range from using face masks, frequent hand sanitization, social distancing whenever possible, frequently airing classrooms, closely monitoring the state of health of schoolchildren, etc. Special attention (including distance-learning) is paid to pupils and teachers who are considered to be at a high risk of contracting Covid-19 or might be affected by the disease in a particularly adverse way. All measures are aimed at ensuring maximum safety while trying to minimize any kind of disruption to the regular curricula.

Which companies and/or industries in your country witnessed growth in business because of the pandemic?

In Austria, the online entertainment industry, pharma companies and supermarkets, for example, managed to prosper during the pandemic. We see a faster than expected recovery of the economy: Austria’s GDP is forecast to grow by 4.3 percent in 2021. The Austrian government set up aid programs worth €57.6 billion during the crisis and has now introduced an ‘Investment Premium.’ Companies receive either 7 percent or 14 percent (climate protection, digitalization, life sciences and health investments) discount on any new investment in any industry. These efforts are supposed to motivate companies to invest further in Austria.

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