Vienna City Councilor for Health Peter Hacker (SPÖ) did not take good care of the federal government’s corona decisions and the imminent end of the free tests on Thursday. In a press conference, he expressed harsh criticism. “Right now we’re on course to open the door and get out at top speed.” The forecasts would worry him, at the same time the withdrawal of measures would be dangerous, he warned.
The effect of starting school after the semester break has already been seen in Vienna, with an increase in numbers. This will continue in the other federal states. The government’s course was also surprising in yesterday’s meeting with the state governors. Hacker revealed that other federal states have also announced that they want to discuss this with their own experts.
The vaccination fleet was “once again not managed”: “Now we’re going to turn it into an infection lottery. According to the motto: Let’s see who gets caught.” He thinks that is “remarkable” after two years of pandemic policy. The city doesn’t go along with it. The guiding principle here is to get people safely through the pandemic. Not everyone has to say that what Vienna is doing is great. “But we’re trying to explain why we’re doing it.” In a comparison of the federal states, the values for the individual waves were always lower.
Hackers also marveled at the change in testing strategy. If Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens) thinks that there will already be providers and that people will have to pay what they ask for, then this no longer has anything to do with a planned social health policy. He also referred to the low test costs in Vienna, as he assured, where six euros would be paid for an examination as part of the “Alles Gurgelt” initiative.
The federal government apparently pays much more for other tests with other contractual partners, since total costs of 2.3 billion euros have been mentioned. That is far more than is required for the Vienna system. “It means it must be extremely overpaid for testing somewhere in this country. To be honest, I can understand why the Minister of Finance would howl.” It would now be necessary to get together to find out how this could be organized intelligently, he said, taking on the responsibility of the federal government.
Paying “everything is gurgling” from the city treasury is “completely unthinkable” for hackers, as he asserted. “Everything we do is under the command of the Secretary of Health.” One is constantly in coordination with the federal government and always in the indirect federal administration. “We would not have the competence to do so, I could not explain it to the Court of Auditors.” One is not in the principality, but acts on the basis of the constitution.
In any case, you are now falling back to the start of the epidemic – when you asked yourself how to write Covid correctly. He thinks that is “more than strange”: “And to be honest, very disappointing.” All bodies would explain, for example the Corona Commission today, that there is still a high risk. Other countries such as Denmark would also consider measures again, despite higher vaccination coverage.
“We have 30,000 infections a day, over 600 patients a day with a single illness in the hospital.” This is not a “spa stay”, but a serious illness with severe damage to the internal organs. “I don’t understand how you can come up with the idea of driving such a course.” Many would now probably say that at the beginning of March it will be “over anyway” and that you no longer need to be vaccinated.
The question of compulsory vaccination is an “inconstant political development issue”. This is law. It was decided with “giant fanfare” in Parliament. If there are doubts about a measure, a decision should be made beforehand, the department head said. He was also amazed that the health minister had declared the end of the 3G regulation in the workplace. Hacker was surprised that he actually thought that this had to do with labor law and that there was an agreement between the social partners.
“We can’t estimate whether there won’t be a new wave before summer,” he warned, referring to the Easter lockdown a year ago. “I was amazed when the minister said it would be like last summer, because everything was great. I was a bit torn right away, because last summer nothing was great, we just pretended that everything was great and then we made up for it with a bitter lockdown in the fall.”
Even then, Vienna would not have understood many of the measures and had been more careful. You wouldn’t have needed a lockdown because you got through the autumn wave well, but you supported it. Because it was necessary in a number of federal states to do it in any case. “If it’s happening again now, then again we haven’t learned the lesson.”