Brussels/Vienna. According to Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), the goal in the fight against the corona pandemic is to return to normality in Austria by summer 2021. All federal states would carry out mass tests before Christmas, “faster than expected”, said Kurz on Friday after a video conference with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The perspective he mentioned in the Sonmer, “light at the end of the tunnel”, was becoming “increasingly probable”.
Kurz expects steps towards more normality through the vaccinations from month to month. Hopefully, by the summer, such a high percentage of the population will have been vaccinated that “we declare the pandemic over and have defeated the virus”.
Von der Leyen also said in the video conference that there is still a difficult phase, but “we now have light at the end of the tunnel. We know we can defeat the virus”.
Vaccination must be carried out twice
Kurz thanked the EU Commission boss for having “set up a really good procurement process” for the Covid-19 vaccine, but warned against too much euphoria in view of the two billion doses of vaccine that the EU could secure for itself. Austria was entitled to two percent of the EU doses, the Chancellor said. But one had to bear in mind that the vaccination would have to be administered twice.
In addition, there are large differences in the effectiveness and speed of approval of vaccines. “We are a long way from all six suppliers having a perfect product that will be approved in the EU,” said Kurz. In the EU, only two vaccines are about to be approved. “We will have a shortage in the beginning,” Kurz expects. The problem of oversupply would not exist, but the situation could ease in the following months. Kurz confirmed that the first groups should be vaccinated in January, “perhaps even a few days earlier”.
Persevere “even if it is difficult”.
The population was briefly warned to hold out in the Corona pandemic, “even if it is difficult”. With the antigen tests, there is a chance of keeping the infection under control. The infrastructure for the mass tests is to be used for the vaccinations, Kurz announced. The mass tests would also continue, although not always entire states would have to be tested.
The costs for the vaccinations will be covered by the Republic of Austria, Kurz assured. The costs for the vaccinations, testing, logistics and personnel are “irrelevant compared to the economic damage of a lockdown, not to mention the freedom interventions”.
Kurz praised von der Leyen
Kurz praises von der Leyen for having planned for overcapacity in the procurement of the vaccine in order to support the EU’s neighborhood. Kurz sees above all the Western Balkan states as potential recipients. “We are already in contact with the countries to provide them with logistical advice,” he said.
“The coming months will be characterized by necessary restrictions and regulations,” Kurz said. In general, he said, a share of around 70 percent of the population vaccinated is needed to completely eradicate the virus. But every step towards this goal would bring relief. This would mean, for example, a relaxation for the later generations and also that fewer people would have to die. Kurz also assured that in the EU and in Austria only one hundred percent safe vaccine would be approved.
- hp, with reports from news agencies and oe24.at. picture: pixabay.com
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