On Wednesday the government announced the opening steps towards “new freedom”. The reactions from the state representatives were basically unanimously positive, although some admitted to having “a bit of a stomach ache” when the restrictions were relaxed. One of the ranks of the state leaders, who in recent months has repeatedly attracted attention with interesting and explosive statements and assessments, did not disappoint with his reaction this time either: Hans Peter Doskozil (SPÖ).
The governor of Burgenland welcomed the opening steps “in principle”, but he also saw some points for criticism, as he revealed on Wednesday in an interview with the daily newspaper “Heute”. In Burgenland “a clear easing of the situation can be seen”, the number of new cases is already lower than the number of those who have recovered. Nationwide, Burgenland, which is also the clear leader in vaccination in Austria, has the lowest incidence. And he also contradicts a statement by Vienna’s Mayor Michael Ludwig, who still considers the situation in hospitals “all over the country” to be alarming: “The hospital numbers were stable throughout the Omicron wave – the numbers in the hospitals are also falling “, says Doskozil.
So far, so positive – and yet Doskozil finds points that the federal government has not sufficiently clarified. For example, the procedure in schools remained open: “In particular, dealing with the mask requirement for teaching staff and the continuation of the test strategy,” complains the Burgenland boss.
A decision that Hans Peter Doskozil had definitely expected, but which did not materialize, is a clear announcement on the subject of compulsory vaccination. Recently, the rumors had intensified that after the vaccination flop, the compulsory vaccination was now on extremely shaky ground – the statements of the government members in the direction of compulsory vaccination had also become softer.
Government insiders even rumored that the coalition was planning an end. For Doskozil, however, the government of the population and the federal government has failed to take action: “A commission decision before March 15th is in prospect, which may lead to a temporary suspension of compulsory vaccination,” said Doskozil, who with the absence of a statement in this direction and the loosening just announced sees a contradiction in terms. “I would have expected this decision today, since it is a clear contradiction to go into a 3G system on February 19th or to generally abandon the 2 and 3G system on March 5th, but at the same time to carry out the vaccination obligation, so Doskozil. For the Burgenland boss, this leads to only one consequence, namely that there can be no implementation of compulsory vaccination for him – and Burgenland – in the near future: “From today’s perspective in Burgenland we assume that there will be for the next Months can come to no enforcement of the vaccination.”
But Doskozil also makes it clear that his forecast is a suspension and not a complete end for the mandatory trick. With a view to the new rules, it must also “be clear” that “under no circumstances should you make the same mistakes as last year”. “Many experts agree that the likelihood of the situation worsening again in autumn is realistic,” warns the Burgenland boss, and calls for the government to act accordingly.
In his opinion, a clear timetable is therefore needed for the next few months – something that the government has so far failed to do: “The government is leaving this clear timetable, in particular clear specifications for autumn, open,” he criticizes.
Doskozil definitely wants to offer the Burgenlanders what the federal government has failed to do so far, as he promises in an interview with the “Heute”: “In Burgenland, after final coordination with experts, we will in any case present a strategy for the autumn. We owe that to the people of Burgenland, because we have only come through the crisis so well because of our solidarity. We don’t want to lose this lead.”