In the fight against the sharp rise in the number of CoV infections and the increase in the number of patients in intensive care units, the governors of Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland have agreed on tough measures together with Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens). In the run-up to this, an “Easter break” was already apparent, and further, tough measures were announced on Wednesday evening.
“Almost all European countries are in the middle of the third wave, including Austria,” said Anschober at the beginning of the press conference. The British virus mutation is said to be the most widespread in eastern Austria. This variant leads to serious illnesses more quickly, according to Anschober, although the number of intensive care patients is already very high, especially in Vienna. “This is not the time for openings,” said the Minister of Health. They therefore want to initiate a breakwater and have three goals: to reduce contacts over the Easter period, to massively expand testing and also to significantly expand protective measures.
Mikl-Leitner: “It is important to do what is necessary”
“It is right and important to do what is necessary,” said Lower Austria’s governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP). “I have always said that tunnel vision alone on the number of infections is not enough and that it is important to get an overall picture.” Mikl-Leitner repeatedly spoke out in favor of retailers having to stay open.
There are “different expert opinions”, says Mikl-Leitner: “We made a conscious decision against a two-week lockdown.” Instead, the tough measures should only apply for a few days. These sales losses would also have to be compensated accordingly.
Ludwig for further measures if necessary
“As governors in the eastern region, we are ready to take on responsibility in a very difficult situation,” said Vienna’s Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ). Therefore, they have put together a package that is very “profound” and that, so the hope, will have a positive effect, especially on the occupancy of the hospital beds. “But I also say very clearly: If we don’t see results very quickly, we have to take measures that go beyond this package,” emphasized Ludwig.
Burgenland Governor Hans-Peter Doskozil (SPÖ) emphasized that it was very important that the population went along. “Nobody standing here wants to be responsible for the fact that there is no intensive care bed for a patient who needs an intensive care bed,” says Doskozil. He also emphasized that it was important to enter a culture of discussion in order to look for solutions across party lines. It is important to “demonstrate unity,” said Burgenland’s governor.
The tightening at a glance:
- Accordingly, all-day exit restrictions apply again from Maundy Thursday, April 1, to the Tuesday after Easter, April 6, as was the case in the hard lockdown. There are only a few exceptions, including covering basic needs.
- There will also be an “Easter rest” for retailers. With the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies and tobacconists, the trade and service providers close to the body must remain closed. From April 7th, there will be access tests not only for body-hugging service providers, but also for retailers.
- In the schools, the Easter holidays will be extended and will go into distance learning in the week after Easter. Then a return to the classroom should be made possible with PCR tests.
- The FFP2 mask requirement is to be expanded significantly. This applies to dense outdoor gatherings as well as closed rooms where more than one person is present. In addition, there will be mandatory corona tests in companies once a week.
- There are stricter controls at the borders. For cross-border commuters, a negative test result was previously valid for one week, in future two tests will be required per week. The stricter controls particularly affect the borders with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.