Hard corona lockdown to be implemented

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The high infection rates in Austria – despite the current lockdown – require further measures. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz will explain himself tomorrow, Saturday at 4.30 p.m. in a press conference together with Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober and Interior Minister Karl Nehammer.

As has been informally confirmed by Austria`s daily newspapers, (krone.at, oe24.at, diepresse.at and kurier.at) the initial restrictions will be extended and will apply 24 hours from Tuesday. This “hard” lockdown will be similar to the situation in March, they say. The only difference is that the already existing exceptions to the exit restrictions (emergency assistance, walking, shopping, etc.) will be communicated more clearly and remain in force.

According to reports, the Greens wanted to implement a complete lockdown as early as tomorrow, Saturday. The reason: The shopping Saturday could push the already high infection figures even higher.

On the question of schools, the negotiations were still ongoing on Friday. Teaching and care should continue to be possible, it was said. The exact model is still open, however.

As far as trade and compensation for small and individual entrepreneurs is concerned, the government has discussed a model that looks like the following: Up to 40 percent of turnover could be replaced. The absolute limit is the 800,000 euro limit set by EU law.

The end of the lockdown is initially set for December 8.

Pharmacies and supermarkets remain open
Excluded from the lockdown are – as expected and as in the first lockdown in spring – the food sector, drugstores, banks and pharmacies. The stores are then expected to open again for the Christmas business. If the infection situation allows it, it is said.

Dispute over school closure
As already mentioned, there is fierce controversy within the coalition over whether the schools should really be closed completely. The upper school is already in Distance Learning – now the younger age groups are to be taught at home again.

Chancellor Kurz is said to be convinced that this measure is necessary, while Health Minister Rudolf Anschober is said to be against it. The Green Minister should receive support from ÖVP Education Minister Heinz Faßmann and most state governors. They want the schools to stay open as long as possible, they say.

And the Corona traffic light commission also spoke out against school closures at its meeting on Thursday. “Softer means” such as compulsory masks in class should be enough. The decision was unanimous, only the Federal Chancellery abstained.

This question is to be clarified by this afternoon. What is certain, however, is that scientific evidence is needed for a corresponding ordinance – in other words, a study that shows that there is a relevant incidence of infection in schools.

— hp with reports from Austria’s daily newspapers. Picture: pixabay.com

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