Talking about 10-day quarantine first
The announcement of the new regulation was accompanied by extensive confusion in the health department. While the mandatory test was mentioned in a first press release on late Friday evening, the ordinance was then interpreted in the ministry – after repeated queries by the APA – in such a way that it was possible to remain in the ten-day quarantine as an alternative to the (now mandatory) test – without testing. But that is definitely not the case, the test must definitely be rescheduled, according to the final information from the Anschobers office.
The new regulation is therefore a tightening. For up to now, according to the Ministry of Health, returnees had to submit a medical certificate that is not older than four days. Alternatively, they could go into a 14-day (home) quarantine and then leave it without testing.
Mayer: “Legal competence diluted”
The constitutional expert Heinz Mayer sharply criticized the chaos caused by the ministry about the regulation and also the quality of the text of the regulation. “This is the consequence of a long-standing tendency to dilute legal competence at ministerial level.” Regarding editorial errors also found in the regulation, he told APA that “this should also not happen”. Here the FPÖ hooked up: “At first, Anschober said that the text of the entry regulation text had to be given time to avoid mistakes, now there is an incorrect set of boxes saying that the ‘signature cannot be left for this period'” Party leader Norbert Hofer referred to the relevant passage. “Unfortunately, in the case of Anschober, one no longer has to speak of botch or embarrassment, but rather incapacity. Because his department is not able to bring out a clear and understandable text of the regulation that lasts.”
In the past, regulations from the Ministry of Health also caused massive problems. The notorious “Easter Decree”, for example, caused harsh criticism, according to which only five additional people could have been received in private apartments (during the lockdown). This was then withdrawn after a public outcry. And just last Wednesday, the Constitutional Court announced that the Corona exit restriction and store opening regulations were illegal in April.
Sharp rules for third-country nationals
Under no circumstances can third-country nationals leave the quarantine in the future – even if a negative PCR test is presented, which means that the status quo will be tightened. This group of people is of course not allowed to enter Austria anyway (as has been the case so far). There are exceptions only for those entering via a Schengen country. A negative PCR test is still required for such an entry; this must also not be older than 72 hours. In contrast to the current status, those affected must remain in a ten-day (home) quarantine even if such a negative test result is available. A “freest” from it is not possible. A confirmation of accommodation must also be submitted for the quarantine. Third-country nationals residing in Austria (such as those from the Balkan countries recently discussed due to high corona numbers) are not affected by this stricter regulation.