Riedl is satisfied with the ordinance of the Ministry of Health, which will apply from Wednesday, to tighten the corona measures – also with the fact that different regulations will apply in the future for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. “Always consider only 20, 25 percent and 80 percent harassing, locking up or discussing a lockdown, that is not feasible,” said the president in the run-up to the community day, which takes place on Wednesday and Thursday in Tulln. With the masks, Riedl relies on a broad application beyond the requirements: “I assume that the mask requirement for unvaccinated people is a recommendation for everyone,” he said at a press conference in Vienna.
Riedl can imagine a contribution to the costs for the corona tests of the unvaccinated. Specifically, they should receive their tests via an electronic prescription and pay a prescription fee for them (6.50 euros). He does not believe that a comprehensive range of PCR tests could become a problem in rural communities. In order to increase the willingness to vaccinate, Riedl demands that people who have not yet been vaccinated be written to personally and informed about vaccination offers. From his point of view, Gesundheit Österreich could already implement this (on the basis of the data in the electronic vaccination register, note). “And yet this does not happen for data protection reasons,” criticized Riedl. “What really annoys us is that in such a major health crisis, data protection comes before health.”
The deputy SPÖ club chairman Jörg Leichtfried again criticized the government on Tuesday: “Overslept through the summer, messed up the vaccination campaign, lost trust,” he said. “In view of the poor vaccination progress, the test and quarantine chaos at the beginning of school, the delayed special care time and the inability to present the legal basis for the coming corona measures in time, one unfortunately has to speak of a failure again,” said Leichfried in one Broadcasting “stunned”. The ordinance of the health minister had come “too late” and did not contain the announced step-by-step plan. Planning for the affected industries is not possible, “once again the population does not know what is going on where”.
The SP club vice-president also reminded that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) had posted the sentence “After we have survived the health consequences of the crisis …” on Facebook on June 13, 2020. “Since then Austria has experienced a second, third and now fourth wave with months of lockdowns and more than 10,000 deaths,” said Leichtfried. “And this year too, shortly before summer, the poster said ‘Pandemic mastered’ – now the country is in the middle of the fourth wave.” The result is “a massive loss of confidence in the government of the population” – and now Austria is atone for “poor vaccination progress in comparison with the EU.”
NEOS party leader Beate Meinl-Reisinger, for her part, formulated clear criticism of the federal government. The new regulations are incomprehensible, nothing would have happened to create trust in the population, she said at a press conference on Tuesday. She was “horrified”, but it was “not too late to ensure a safe winter,” said Meinl-Reisinger. Shortening the quarantine for school children has long been a concern of her, and the NEOS are calling for the end of the free tests and a broader vaccination campaign.
The Upper Austrian Chamber of Commerce President Doris Hummer welcomed a shorter quarantine period in schools and called for companies to generally reduce the quarantine period for asymptomatic people. More and more often, the companies are unable to fulfill orders due to the quarantine regulations – and the resulting lack of employees – or entire departments at lead companies are emptied. In Upper Austria alone there are currently 6,575 people in quarantine.
Udo Landbauer, state party and club chairman of the FPÖ Lower Austria, referred directly to the statements of the President of the Association of Municipalities. In a broadcast he urged Riedl to resign: “Anyone who openly speaks out in favor of a division in society, plays off vaccinated and unvaccinated people against each other and classifies people based on their vaccination status, is far outside the arc of our constitution and has nothing at the head of the association lost.”