Austria is Arming itself against the Coronavirus

Lifestyle & TravelMore+ ♦ Published: February 24, 2020; 18:20 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Austrian Federal Government today presented a package of measures against "all" upcoming scenarios, with the aim of ensuring transparency, information and protection for the population. The next 2 to 3 weeks will be decisive in determining how the coronavirus situation develops.

Coronavirus crisis team at the Ministry of the Interior: "The next 2 to 3 weeks will be decisive as to how the coronavirus situation develops further," / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Arno Melicharek

A press conference of the Austrian coronavirus task force with Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer and Social Minister Rudolf Anschober took place today in Vienna.

During today's talks, numerous measures were jointly agreed upon.

Starting today, there will be daily reports from the Minister of the Interior and Health, as well as daily information for the public, in order to provide the best possible information.

"We want a good cooperation with the federal states and municipalities. Therefore, we have invited the provincial governors to a joint meeting with the heads of department of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Health in Vienna on Thursday. The coronavirus will also be a topic of discussion in the National Security Council with the opposition on Friday", said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

"We are confronted with the fact that the number of people infected with coronavirus has risen massively in recent weeks." "We are currently experiencing an increasing international spread, most recently in Europe as well". "To date, there have been 189 suspected cases in Austria, all of which tested negative. But we must not assume that this will continue. It is therefore important to be prepared for all scenarios". "The task force is working intensively in order to be prepared in case of an expansion of the corona cases in Europe or Austria," Kurz continued.

Education and protection measures for the population

In addition, the Chancellor announced an information campaign for the population, which will focus on education and protection measures. The Foreign Ministry was to issue selective travel warnings for the affected areas. Finally, cooperation at the European level and especially with Austria's neighbouring countries would be further intensified. "We will link the warning chains even more closely so that immediate border stops can be made in case of suspicion."

Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer referred to further measures such as fever measurements at Vienna-Schwechat airport, precautions in the provincial police departments as well as by the NBC specialists of the Austrian Armed Forces.

He said that every effort would be made to ensure the safety of the population in Austria. "We are taking the situation very seriously and are in close coordination with our European partners", said the Minister of the Interior once again.

Advisory hotline for information on the coronavirus

"We rely on transparency, information and the best possible protection," affirmed Health Minister Rudolf Anschober.

Patients with symptoms typical of the disease are recommended to call 1450 for medical information. Advice on further questions can be obtained via the hotline on the toll-free number 0800 555 621, which is available 24 hours a day from Tuesday, 25 February.

"The next 2 to 3 weeks will be decisive as to how the coronavirus situation develops further," said Anschober.