Corona rules – calls for relaxation

The lockdown for the unvaccinated ends on Monday, but the exclusion of this group from shops, bars and events does not. For the time being, the federal government wants to stick to the 2G rule, as well as to the contact restrictions that affect everyone – the curfew at 10 p.m. and the ban on loose events of more than 25 people (e.g. weddings).

There is now increasing resistance to this. For one thing, he comes from business. Harald Mahrer, President of the Chamber of Commerce, chose hearty words for his criticism. He called the curfew regulation a “crazy idea” that no other country is pursuing. “But apparently we’re the only ones who tend towards control and confinement terror,” said Mahrer.

The federal states are divided on the issue, regardless of their party affiliation. The loudest calls for an end to 2G, an end to the curfew and for looser rules for events are coming from Tyrol, Salzburg and Vorarlberg, with Governor Markus Wallner currently chairing the Conference of Governors. Everything except 3G at work, vaccination and mask requirements should be “eliminated quickly,” he said.

Risk of overload due to many sick leave

While Carinthia’s governor Peter Kaiser (SPÖ) also joined these calls, Styria’s head of state Hermann Schützenhöfer (ÖVP) is more reserved. For the time being, he just wants to “think” about easing. Upper Austria’s governor Thomas Stelzer (ÖVP) first wants to work out a phased plan for easing with experts. Vienna currently sees no reason for easing and only wants to observe the further course.

The background to the existing measures is to be able to at least somewhat reduce the number of infections at the same time, for example to prevent staff shortages in medical care. Despite the measures, the epidemiologist Gerald Gartlehner sees an “uncontrolled occurrence of infection”. “The measures will reduce the height of the wave, but will spread it somewhat.” Nevertheless, it makes sense to keep the measures in place to reduce the risk of medical supply problems. In contrast to previous waves of infection, this time it is not the increased demand that could become a problem in the hospitals, but the reduced supply due to too many sick leave.

Thomas Czypionka from the IHS currently sees a faulty interpretation and communication of the challenges by Omikron throughout Europe. He also thinks the easing debates have failed. However, these or already actual opening steps are not unique in Austria. In Denmark, the number of cases is still increasing considerably. In Great Britain, stagnation has now returned after a drop: Despite the milder course, more than 10,000 people died of the corona virus in the omicron wave on the island in just one month. Denmark also recently registered a “significant excess mortality” among people over the age of 75.(sir/what)

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