Chancellor Kurz promotes testing before Christmas celebrations

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Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) has once again called for people to be tested for the coronavirus before any family celebrations shortly before Christmas. “I myself will do this as a matter of course,” Kurz told APA today. This, he said, could prevent infecting family members. “Everyone can make a big contribution to protecting themselves and others by being careful, especially in private,” Kurz affirmed.

Only one household is allowed to meet another household, he said. “My big request is: stick to it!” appealed Kurz. While up to ten people (including children) are allowed at the Christmas party, he said, people should be careful and celebrate “in as small a group as possible.” There is an opportunity to be tested free of charge beforehand to rule out infection, he said.

7-day incidence below 100 as target
After Christmas, a tough lockdown begins again in Austria on Dec. 26, as announced yesterday. Retailers – with the exception of grocery stores, drugstores and pharmacies – are not allowed to open until January 18, and the exit restrictions will then also apply around the clock again. The private sector in particular is “crucial,” Kurz said, “don’t hit anyone,” he asked. “It is almost unbearable, for all of us, to endure this abandonment of contact with other people,” the chancellor acknowledged. However, nearly 100 people a day still die from coronavirus infection, he said.

Bringing the infection numbers down – the government is aiming for a 7-day incidence below 100, ideally even below 50 – would allow reopening by Jan. 18, he said. Through a “massive use of testing,” areas such as tourism and culture are then to be ramped up again, “with as much freedom as somehow possible,” the chancellor said.

Vaccination against the coronavirus is also to begin in Austria from December 27. Kurz once again called for people to be vaccinated: Every single vaccination contributes to defeating the pandemic. In the summer, it would then be possible to return to normality, Kurz said.

— hp, Source: orf.at/picture: pixabay.com

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