Corona pandemic: Austria is closing

Status: 11/19/2021 1:50 p.m.

Due to the high corona numbers, a nationwide lockdown will apply in Austria from Monday. “We have to face realities,” said Chancellor Schallenberg. In February a vaccination should follow.

By Clemens Verenkotte, ARD-Studio Vienna

In view of the high number of infections, Austria will go into a nationwide lockdown from Monday. A general compulsory vaccination is also to be introduced from February 1st. Austria’s federal government agreed on this with the federal states.

Clemens Verenkotte
ARD studio Vienna

After ten days, the measure should be reviewed and a decision on how to proceed. Austria’s Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said the lockdown for vaccinated and convalescents was over by December 13th at the latest. Then the 2G rule should apply again.

“We have to face the realities,” said Schallenberg, referring to the low vaccination rate and the dramatic situation in the hospitals. So far, it would have been believed that there should be no nationwide lockdown for vaccinated people and that the measures taken so far would be sufficient.

Schallenberg: “An attack on our health system”

“Perhaps for too long, I and others have assumed that it must be possible to convince people in Austria, to convince them that they are voluntarily vaccinated, to convince them that this is for their own protection, for the protection of their fellow human beings, of their lovers, their friends, their work colleagues. “

Schallenberg, who at the beginning of this week had strictly rejected a general lockdown, blamed, among other things, the domestic political forces who oppose the vaccinations for the comparatively low vaccination rate in Austria of currently almost 64 percent.

Without naming the right-wing populist FPÖ, the Chancellor said: “We have too many political forces in this country too that are vehemently and massively and publicly fighting against it.” And that is irresponsible. “This is actually an assassination attempt on our health system. And incited by these radical opponents of vaccination, by flimsy fake news, too many of us have unfortunately not been vaccinated,” said Schallenberg.

Only leave the house in exceptional cases

Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein from the Greens apologized for the appearance of the federal government, which the public and the media in Austria perceived as a mess of communication. There one “fell short of our claim in some places.”

During the lockdown, people are only allowed to leave the house for urgently needed reasons, Mückstein said. This included averting danger and life and property, covering the necessary basic needs, professional and training purposes, staying outdoors for physical and psychological recovery and for administrative and judicial procedures that cannot be postponed.

Wherever possible, they should switch to home office. In all closed rooms, the FFP2 mask requirement applies from Monday, said Mückstein.

Ludwig: “There will be a lot of criticism”

Vienna’s Mayor Michael Ludwig emphasized that there is now a solidarity between the federal government and the states. One had to show solidarity with the particularly hard hit federal states of Salzburg and Upper Austria. The decisions were not easy for anyone, but politicians must also take unpopular measures, according to the Mayor of Vienna:

“We will not get a beauty award and there will be a lot of criticism. But that we are ready to accept this criticism in order to save and secure the health and lives of people,” said Ludwig.

Seven-day incidence is close to 1000

Austria’s intensive care physicians welcomed the nationwide lockdown in a first statement: It was really high time for an “emergency stop”. However, you are “too late.”

Like many European countries, Austria is currently fighting a violent corona wave with new highs for new infections. On Thursday, the authorities reported a record 15,145 infections within 24 hours. The seven-day incidence in Austria is almost 1000 and for more than a week more than 10,000 new infections with the coronavirus have been reported every day.

Austria is going into lockdown and imposing a general vaccination requirement

Clemens Verenkotte, ARD Wien, 19.11.2021 · 12:19 p.m.

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