Chancellor Kurz: Opening from February 8 not guaranteed

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The end of the CoV lockdown as of February 8 is not guaranteed, according to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP). He said this in an interview with the Puls 4 channel, which was broadcast last night, January 18. Kurz points to the government’s goal of getting to below 700 new infections per day by early February. “Ideally, we have the possibility to set opening steps on Feb. 8. Can we guarantee that? No,” the chancellor said.

Kurz said when – after medical personnel and those over 80 – the population over 60 will also be vaccinated against Covid-19 depends on the approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The former two groups could be covered with currently available vaccines from Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna (1.2 million doses by March), he said. For the younger seniors, however, the two million vaccine doses ordered from AstraZeneca via the EU (until March) are needed.

Rendi-Wagner against lockdown end date
SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner yesterday spoke out against a fixed end date for the lockdown. “The virus does not know a deadline,” she said. Instead, she said, there needs to be a “clear goal,” namely the achievement of a target value – and this should be a 7-day incidence of 50 per 100,000 inhabitants, as stated by the experts. In addition, she called for vaccination coverage of the over-80s and of health and care workers.

It is not known how trends will develop, she said. She also pointed out that already two dates mentioned for the lockdown ending – Jan. 18 and Jan. 25 – have not held. If Feb. 8 doesn’t hold either, she said, the public will lose more and more confidence in both federal government announcements and actions, which in turn will lead to less and less compliance with the latter.

Rapid vaccination and weekly testing
The new B.1.1.7 viral mutation will quickly take hold in Austria and become the dominant variant, she warned. In addition to the lockdown and the accompanying reduction in social contacts, vaccinations of those over 80 who are willing to be vaccinated, as well as of all health and care personnel, must now be carried out “at high speed and with all forces.”

Immediate weekly test screening of all health and care personnel is also needed, she urged. This must take place across the board and not just remain regional, she added.

Demand for immediate assistance package for single parents
In addition, the SPÖ demanded an “immediate aid package for single parents” and a “bridging aid to prevent acute emergencies”. At the opening of the virtual Barbara Prammer Symposium, Rendi-Wagner justified this demand by saying that it was primarily women who had to cope with the bulk of the coronavirus crisis and that the situation was most difficult for single mothers.

  • Source: orf.at/picture: pixabay.com
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