Status: 24.03.2021 10:40 p.m.
In parts of Austria, the government is imposing a tough lockdown over Easter. This is to prevent the impending overloading of the clinics. In addition, the British virus variant is spreading more and more.
In view of the threat of overburdening the health system for the capital Vienna and two other federal states, Austria has decided on a tough lockdown over Easter. A short “Easter break” is necessary in order to avert an impending overload of the clinics in the capital and in Lower Austria and in Burgenland, said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober.
From April 1 to 6, public life in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland will be shut down completely and all shops not required for basic services will be closed, Anschober said. The decision was preceded by long negotiations with the heads of the countries concerned.
Body-hugging service providers such as hairdressers have to close again for these days. In contrast to Germany, shops and companies in Austria are usually open on Good Friday. Furthermore, people should only go outside for walks, sports and urgent trips over the holidays.
British variant of the virus is spreading
Schools will switch to online teaching for a week after Easter. In addition, the mask requirement in companies and in busy places outdoors is tightened. Commuters from neighboring countries to the east such as the Czech Republic and Hungary have to present two negative tests per week instead of the previous one.
The negotiators followed the withdrawal of the German Corona Easter rest by Chancellor Angela Merkel extremely closely, according to the dpa news agency. Nevertheless, the Austrian politicians ultimately decided to tighten it. According to Anschober, the more contagious British virus variant, which also leads to more severe courses, has spread widely in the east of the country. This now creates a tense situation in the intensive care units. In Vienna and Lower Austria, more than half of the beds intended for Covid patients are already occupied in intensive care units. Burgenland is approaching the two-thirds mark.
Anschober warns of triage
“We have to guarantee for everyone, not just for Covid patients, that there will be no triages,” said Anschober. This means that the medical staff must be prevented from having to decide who receives life-saving treatment and who does not because of a lack of capacity.
Of the nine federal states of the Alpine republic, Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland are currently among the countries most affected by the virus. The seven-day incidence there recently rose to just under 300. The incidence value indicates how many people per 100,000 population have contracted the virus in the past seven days. The remaining federal states have values of over 200, only Vorarlberg in the very west of the country has around 80.
Nationwide, according to the Ministry of Health, the last 3289 new positive tests were counted within a day. There are currently 2086 people in hospital treatment due to the corona virus, 447 of them in intensive care units. On February 8, Austria relaxed the lockdown nationwide and reopened trade and schools. Since then, the number of infections has skyrocketed again.