Consultation on further measures against the spread of the coronavirus in Austria to be held on Wednesday

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On Wednesday, 8. September 2021, the government will consult with the provincial governors on further measures against the spread of the coronavirus. The number of new infections has recently increased significantly, also in the hospitals have to be treated in the normal and intensive care units again significantly more Covid-19 patients. Meanwhile, the pace of vaccination has slowed considerably, with initial vaccinations in particular making slow progress over the past few weeks.

Figures from the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) show significantly higher incidences among the unvaccinated. Even in hospitals, there are currently hardly any people with complete vaccination protection.

“The virus distinguishes between unvaccinated people and vaccinated people,” Mückstein also explained in the krone.at. “We have particularly delicate areas where many unvaccinated people meet. One area is night catering, but also standing parties like at apres-ski. We have to protect the unvaccinated. That means the unvaccinated should not be allowed into these high-risk areas. For their own protection,” the minister said.

During apres-ski, transmissions could easily occur “because many people are together in a confined space and may still be singing,” Mückstein told Oe24. Asked whether only vaccinated people should have access to apres-ski bars and night catering in the future, Mückstein told the Krone: “That is now part of this plan, which is with the coalition partner. In October, it makes sense to implement it.”

“Mask obligation indoor”
In addition, Mückstein believes that the “basic measures” must also be strengthened again. In an interview with Oe24, Mückstein spoke out in favor of “mandatory masks indoors.” “Particularly safe” are FFP2 masks, the health minister continued. Also under consideration is a shortening of the validity of PCR tests and rapid antigen tests, as is already practiced in Vienna. Mückstein welcomed this model, but indicated that it would be easier to implement in urban areas than in rural areas.

Health Minister Mückstein would like to see the “1-G rule” in apres-ski bars as well
In view of the low vaccination progress, calls have recently been made for compulsory vaccination, as is currently also being discussed in Italy. Mückstein told the Krone newspaper that he did not consider a “general vaccination obligation” to be “expedient”. Asked about compulsory vaccination in the healthcare sector, the minister said, “We should work together to ensure that only vaccinated people work in this setting.”

Expert: restrictions for unvaccinated legally possible
Speaking to Oe24, Mückstein hinted that in the event of a lockdown, he could also imagine restrictions only on the unvaccinated: “Just as it makes no sense that we don’t let vaccinated people who pose a very low epidemiological risk in somewhere, it is equally important that we protect those who are not vaccinated. There is a good factual justification for that. How far that goes is something we’re discussing right now.”

Legally, restrictions for the unvaccinated would be possible, Christoph Bezemek, dean of the faculty of law in Graz, told the Kurier: “Constitutionally, it is permissible to differentiate between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.” It would only have to be factually justified.

Kurz: No problem with vaccination rate of 80 percent
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) did not yet want to commit to any possible measures in an interview with ServusTV on Sunday evening. Restrictions on freedom should only ever be the last resort. Before it comes to an overload of the health system, however, one will of course react. And then the access is clear: “Before we close the night gastronomy completely and no one can go there, I’d still prefer that only vaccinated people are allowed to go there.”

Vaccines are still the best option for a normal life, Kurz said. “I’d rather we rely on vaccination than we limit our lives and our freedoms.” A vaccination rate of 80 percent of the total population is the best way to prevent lockdowns, he said: “Then I would dare to say as chancellor: I can’t imagine there being a problem again.”

sources: oe24.at/krone.at/orf.at/picture: pixabay.com

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