In a hangover mood over the quarantine dispute and several leaks, Health Ministers Johannes Rauch (Greens) and Labor Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) officially announced that the isolation would be replaced by traffic restrictions on August 1. Rauch sees the reason for the change in strategy in the fact that you have to get out of “crisis mode”, he sees Austria well prepared with the virus variant plan developed. Importantly, “Anyone who is sick stays at home.” However, police officers should not be “appointed” to monitor traffic restrictions.
The minister announced that sick leave would be reintroduced by telephone. The protection of vulnerable groups is guaranteed, but quarantine no longer makes sense, as can be seen in other European countries. Protection is, of course, necessary, Kocher said. For this reason, the Risk Group Regulation will return from August 1 – it includes measures such as home office, individual offices or “final release”. It is currently valid until the end of October. Kocher also stressed that anyone who is sick should not work so as not to endanger anyone else.
“Virus cannot be hidden”
The virus cannot be vaccinated, tested or “secreted,” GECKO chief Katharina Reich said at the news conference. The variants have become much more contagious, so “this first step down” is the right step. However, they insist on the fact that Covid-19 is a notifiable disease – “Covid is not the flu” – and they continue to “see”. The Covid hospital registry will make it possible to carry out an accurate analysis of hospital patients in the future. So far, it has been shown that 50 percent of corona patients in hospital actually need to be cared for in the hospital because of their corona infection.
The new traffic restriction rules in brief:
- Anyone who doesn’t feel sick can leave the house on August 1, even after a positive corona test – however, an FFP2 mask must be worn at all times unless you are outside and no one is two meters away.
- Working (in offices & Co.) is possible again with a positive test – also with the condition that an FFP2 mask is worn.
- There are no restrictions if only currently infected people meet in the workplace (“corona teams”).
- At home, wearing a face mask for infected people is not necessary as long as only people from the same household are present, this also applies to passenger cars.
- There are entry bans for infected persons in hospitals, nursing and disabled and health spas, nurseries, primary schools and out-of-school care centers.
- The traffic restriction starts with a positive antigen test and lasts for ten days, after five days a free test is possible.
- Medication advice should also be possible in the event of a positive antigen test.
Vienna reluctantly backs government strategy
On Monday, a state summit was unable to calm the waves between the government and, in particular, the heads of the SPÖ-led states. Vienna, in particular, thinks the government’s approach to let people infected with corona into offices, bars or discotheques in view of the summer wave is wrong, but reluctantly supports the decision. Before the press conference, Rauch consulted with state health officials.
The big question many ask is: how should it work if people who are corona positive work side by side or celebrate with healthy people? After all, the FFP2 mask must be worn by the infected at all times – in cafes or discos this means a de facto consumption ban. There are also many questions in the field of labor law that still need to be clarified, said labor law expert Katharina Körber-Risak on Tuesday.
“Today you will be served by a Covid positive person”
If traffic is restricted and masks are mandatory instead of quarantine, the employer must check that the corona-positive employee wears a mask at all times and never takes it off. “If I don’t, I could be held liable,” the employment lawyer warned. To avoid liability when employing corona-positive employees, for example in the hospitality industry, hotel industry or retail, the company should also communicate this to customers. According to the employment lawyer, it could read as follows: “Today you will be served by a Covid positive person.”
I’m an experienced news author and editor based in New York City. I specialize in covering healthcare news stories for Today Times Live, helping to keep readers informed on the latest developments related to the industry. I have a deep understanding of medical topics, including emerging treatments and drugs, the changing laws that regulate healthcare providers, and other matters that affect public health.