There is concern that the virus is spreading in the private sector, where there is little control.
A new day, a new peak in new infections. There were 869 nationwide from Friday to Saturday, 444 of them in Vienna alone. That was a record increase for the federal capital.
Across Austria, there was only once at the end of March – at the previous peak of the pandemic – a higher number of new infections in 24 hours (921 reported on the previous day based on a different 24-hour measurement period).
“This is a worrying development,” said Ulrich Herzog, head of the traffic light commission, on Saturday Ö1– Lunch journal in addition. And he’s not alone in this. In the Ministry of Health – and also the rest of the federal government – people are concerned or even alarmed at the rising numbers, one can hear.
“We are assuming that the numbers will not get significantly better in the next few days, but may even get worse,” said KURIER from the crisis team. Currently, many districts across Austria would miss the color yellow.
Herzog locates a nationwide trend and therefore considers it justified that the measures nationwide – including the extended mask requirement – will be tightened from Monday.
What worries the crisis team, however: Many of the current new infections can be traced back to celebrations and meetings in private apartments and houses, on which the legislature or the ministry itself can only exert limited influence with regulations and new laws and also do not want to. Once again, personal responsibility is required here.
“These numbers are far too high for this point in time. Now all efforts must be made to ensure that this does not result in an exponential increase in the direction of a second wave, ”warned Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) once again.
How serious the situation is can be measured by the fact that the Corona Commission meets for a special meeting on Monday. The international situation is also to be reassessed there. The experts are also worried about the increasing number of infections in some neighboring countries.
No new rules on the weekend
The fact that new regulations or changes would still be decided on at the weekend was de facto excluded on Saturday in the environment of Health Minister Anschober – it was only on Friday that tightening was announced, which will apply from Monday. In Austria, meanwhile, the debate about the usefulness of the Corona traffic light is not ending.
After Carinthia’s SPÖ governor Peter Kaiser, Salzburg’s VP governor Wilfried Haslauer is now also criticizing the fact that, regardless of the color of the traffic lights, tightened nationwide measures will lose the originally envisaged regional gradation.
The Commission wants to sharpen up at least one other aspect of the gradation. Movements of professional and educational commuters within a region and across district boundaries are to be taken into account when posting. For example when it comes to the question of why Vienna is currently shining “yellow”, but the surrounding area is not.
As serious as the current development is, according to Anschober, the current infection numbers cannot be compared with the numbers of spring due to the massively increased test intensity since then. On the positive side, he notes that hospitalizations and death rates are still relatively stable.
Experts attribute this mainly to the fact that the infections are currently mainly focusing on young people. At the same time, however, it is feared that the virus events will spill over to risk groups.
A cluster in a nursing home in Graz, which caused the number of new infections among the elderly to rise in Styria, shows how quickly this can happen. A few days ago two nurses tested positive. 13 employees and 13 residents are now considered infected.