Both Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) and Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) referred on Wednesday after the Council of Ministers to the governor’s conference planned for Friday. Also from the federal states it was said that no talks are planned on Wednesday. Internal discussions are scheduled in the Ministry of Health.
Most recently, dissent broke out between Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens) and Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) as to whether, in view of the increasing number of cases, further measures beyond the lockdown for unvaccinated people, which has been in effect since Monday, are necessary. Mückstein had pleaded on Sunday for nocturnal exit restrictions also for vaccinated people and called for a decision for Wednesday. Schallenberg rejected measures for those who were already vaccinated and stressed that there would be no talks on Wednesday.
Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) stayed on the line given by Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg that one had to start with the unvaccinated and that the vaccinated should remain untouched. “With the lockdown for the unvaccinated, we have taken very far-reaching measures.” It was agreed that the vaccinated should be given “the greatest possible freedom” and that the unvaccinated had to be “protected” because the infection would lead to a “dramatic situation” in the health sector.
The top health officer in the Ministry of Health, Katharina Reich, was clearly behind Mückstein’s demands for further tightening. On Tuesday evening, she insisted on stricter measures, including for vaccinated people, such as the exit restrictions at night. “I think we need that,” she said in the ORF “Report”. You now have to “arrive in a certain crisis mode”, because “it is not a pandemic for the unvaccinated, but we have reached a stage where it affects us all,” she pleaded for an “emergency brake”.
More and more experts are speaking out in favor of a lockdown for everyone in Austria due to the increasing number of Covid intensive care patients. “Otherwise it won’t work out”, said Rainer Thell, senior physician in the emergency department at the Donaustadt Clinic, formerly SMZ Ost, in an interview with the APA. “It cannot be that people die in Salzburg and that no courageous, obvious decisions are made,” he criticizes.