Second full lockdown for Austria

In Austria, a comprehensive lockdown will be reintroduced for at least three weeks starting Tuesday. Schools and almost all shops will have to close, and restrictions on leaving home will apply around the clock. "Do not meet with anyone," Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told the population in dramatic terms. Austria currently has one of the highest infection rates in Europe. How did it come to this?

Open/close all quotes
Der Standard (AT) /

The price of political carelessness

Der Standard criticises Health Minister Rudolf Anschober:

“When the infection figures started exploding long ago, he assured us that we were 'a long way' from a situation that would require a second lockdown. ... The messages of the politicians are decisive in determining the mood of the population. If the responsible minister locates the worst-case scenario somewhere out of sight, he lulls people into a sense of safety instead of encouraging them to be more disciplined in adhering to the coronavirus rules. ... The art of politics is to design actions so that they work under the given circumstances. It has been no secret since the summer that relying on people's sense of personal responsibility when it comes to coronavirus is not a very good idea in this country.”

Profil (AT) /

Austrians good hosts to the virus

Relying on people's sense of personal responsibility has not worked in Austria, Profil observes:

“Students having parties in the park - and moaning about closed lecture halls; ... Pub and restaurant owners ignoring curfews - enraged because they have to close again; parents organising birthday parties for their little ones, including food and drinks for the other parents - and then signing petitions for open schools. ... The motives for such misbehaviour vary: Some are stupid by nature, others can't stand the loneliness; some just don't want to change, others can't; some don't know any better, others do, but don't care. The result is always the same: more people becoming seriously ill, more fatalities. ... We citizens bear the main responsibility for the lockdown. The Austrian is a good host to the virus.”