Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had promised that the second lockdown which ended two weeks ago would save Christmas” but that mission has proven to be nearly impossible. Austrians, like the majority of nations around the world, are not expecting a regular Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
But things don’t look entirely bleak as vaccinations are set to begin across Europe and Austria on December 27th. With every week, says Chancellor Kurz we get a step closer to ending this pandemic. The goal is to keep weekly cases below 100 per 100,000 people. That number currently stands at just under 200.
The lockdown is expected to end on January 18th, but only for those who agree to get tested. For those not willing to take the test, the stay-at-home order and curfew will be in place for another extra week. Health Minister Rudolf Anschober expressed concern over the dramatic increase in mortalities across the country over the last two months.
For now, the new restrictions mean everyone entering Austria from abroad has to enter a 10-day quarantine, which can only be cut short after 5 days with a negative PCR or antigen test. Over the Christmas holidays more contacts and therefore more cases are expected and the latest preventive measures announced by the government are meant to bridge the time until the vaccine can be rolled out in the New Year.