Crisis management – Stelzer’s responsibility for the corona chaos

These are the hardest days for Thomas Stelzer in his tenure as Upper Austria’s governor since spring 2017. The black-blue coalition under the leadership of the ÖVP state chief reacted far too late last Thursday with tightened corona measures and an vaccination lottery from November 15 . Upper Austria has been one of the frontrunners in the federal state comparison for new corona infections for weeks, while it lags behind in vaccinations.

Even the reaction was accompanied by a serious stomachache. This was shown by the fact that the government partner in the person of FPÖ state chairman Manfred Haimbuchner signaled his distance to the stricter Corona regime by his absence at the press conference and immediately assessed the prescribed 2.5G rule critically. Stelzer defended the continuation of the coalition with the FPÖ, which castigated the federal government’s corona restrictions in the federal government, nevertheless with the fact that he was responsible for the state of Upper Austria.

The governor is therefore also responsible for the mistakes of the past few months and the ongoing chaos. Corona-positive people recently complained that they only have limited options for PCR tests, and Upper Austria has only been on the offensive there for a few days. While in Vienna 6,720 people received a corona vaccination on Sunday and there were 5,710 even in Lower Austria according to the official data available to the “Wiener Zeitung” on Monday, there were only 289 stings in Upper Austria.

Only one vaccination station was open on Sunday

That’s no surprise. Only one vaccination station was open in the state, that in Seewalchen am Attersee. Only from Tuesday will the offer with vaccinations from 100 general practitioners be significantly expanded. Vaccinations are possible from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., registrations are not necessary. In Lower Austria, however, vaccination is carried out in 500 ordinations.

From Wednesday vaccination routes are planned in the state clinics and religious hospitals, next weekend a wide vaccination campaign after the flop on Sunday. Even the new Neos represented in the state parliament took Stelzer into account because of the minimal supply.

SPÖ boss Birgit Gerstorfer shot herself on Monday with state parliament club boss Michael Lindner on Stelzer because of the “Corona mismanagement” on Stelzer. In Upper Austria it was also registered with astonishment that, given the precarious situation in his federal state, the state chief only took part in the crisis meeting with the federal government on Friday evening, as the “Wiener Zeitung” was told.

All the more so because at the press conference on Thursday the governor wanted to blame the federal government for delays in approving PCR tests. The Ministry of Health, led by Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens), made it clear, as reported, that Upper Austria had submitted an incorrect application in August and a new application was only submitted at the beginning of November.

Errors and omissions on the part of the state under the leadership of the ÖVP governor do not only occur in the period of the election campaign before the state elections on September 26th. As early as January of this year, there was an SPÖ application to set up anti-corona service centers in each of the 18 districts. The urgency was overturned and the application was assigned to the social affairs committee. A similar fate suffered in April an SPÖ application to voluntarily introduce lollipop tests in children’s educational institutions, based on the example of Lower Austria, which is also run by the ÖVP. An assignment was made.

Cross shots of the coalition partner FPÖ

Two vaccination coordinators resigned this year within six months. While the number of corona infections rose rapidly, Upper Austria lagged behind in tracking contacts. At the beginning of September, when the number of corona cases was already increasing significantly, Upper Austria’s ÖVP held a major event in Ried in front of 1,500 visitors in the state election campaign, which Stelzer was shown on social media.

He zigzagged the cost of free tests. In the summer he questioned them because of the costs, only to emphasize a little later that they would have to remain free of charge for those tested. In October, Stelzer’s ÖVP continued the coalition with the FPÖ that had existed since 2015. A main argument for this was the security under black and blue. At the same time, up to the leading FPÖ state politicians, there are cross shots against tightened corona measures in Upper Austria.

Christine Haberlander, Deputy Governor, plays a central role. Stelzer is responsible for ensuring that on October 23, in the middle of the worsening corona situation in Upper Austria, she not only remained responsible for the labor-intensive health department, but also continues to lead the education department.

The opposition’s opportunities in the country are manageable. The SPÖ is angry because Upper Austria is making a mockery of itself as the vaccine backlight. At least because of the role model effect, all members of the state government, including the two of the FPÖ, should be vaccinated, is required before the next state parliament session on November 18.

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