Eastern Austria is going into an Easter lock | Free press

Chancellor Merkel scraps the Corona Easter rest for Germany. In neighboring Austria you go the other way. One of the main reasons: the British variant of the virus.

Vienna (dpa) – In Vienna and other eastern regions of Austria, Corona measures are being tightened around the Easter holidays.

A short “Easter rest” is needed to avoid the threat of overloading the clinics in the capital and in Lower Austria and Burgenland, said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens).

The seven-day incidence in the eastern states is almost 300, well above the Austrian average of around 247. This is due to the strong spread of the British virus variant, which also leads to serious Covid diseases more quickly, Shooting in front of journalists .

Therefore, there is now a need for a “breakwater” against the pandemic. “We really want to phase out operations on a massive scale in this Easter phase,” said the minister. Dealers, hairdressers and masseurs close from Maundy Thursday to Tuesday after Easter. Business for everyday needs is out of the question, Anschober announced after lengthy negotiations with the heads of government of the three regions. Unlike Germany, shops and businesses in Austria are usually open on Good Friday. In addition, people are only allowed to go outside during the holidays for walks, sports and urgent trips.

Schools will switch to online education for a week after Easter. In addition, the mask requirement in companies and in busy places outside is being tightened. Commuters from neighboring countries to the east, such as the Czech Republic and Hungary, must submit two instead of one negative test per week.

The negotiators followed very closely the withdrawal of the German Corona Easter rest by Chancellor Angela Merkel, the German news agency learned from informed circles. Still, Austrian politicians eventually decided to tighten it up. The situation in intensive care units was an important argument. In Vienna and Lower Austria, more than half of the beds for Covid patients are already occupied in intensive care units. Burgenland is approaching two-thirds.

Before the decision, the Austrian trade association criticized the leaked plans. Closed days cost jobs but couldn’t prevent infections, said association head Rainer Will. “The only company that could benefit enormously from this and that can look forward to an early Easter gift is Amazon.”

On Monday, after talks with all nine federal heads of state, the federal government initially declined further steps despite the growing infection trend and continued to rely on mass testing and vaccinations. Anschober warned on Wednesday that the corona trend in Eastern Austria could spread to the rest of the country. The lockdown should therefore be seen as a pilot project.

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