Coronavirus Alert Level in Austria: "Forced Measures" are Not Excluded

More+More+ ♦ Published: February 23, 2020; 14:53 ♦ (Vindobona)

The situation in Italy is being closely monitored, and Austria is well prepared for any eventuality. In Austria there was "no reason to panic". Border controls could be "ramped up" within minutes or within an hour, according to the Minister of the Interior.

Minister of the Interior Nehammer: "Forced measures" are not excluded. / Picture: © BMI Bundesministerium für Inneres / Gerd Pachauer

In Austria there was "no reason to panic", said - according to the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF - the Minister of the Interior Nehammer in a press conference.

Nehammer continued: "We take the situation in Italy very seriously, and the rapid increase in the number of cases is striking. The situation in Italy is developing dynamically".

Austria is currently still "in the happy position" that there is no case, the Minister of the Interior continued.

As far as the responsibilities are concerned, the Ministry of Health has the lead in dealing with a crisis like this.

"The police ensure all necessary measures, if necessary also with coercive measures", said Nehammer, who referred in this context to the coordinating function of his department.

In addition, the situation and the approach considered necessary in this context are constantly being reassessed by the competent authorities.

Tomorrow the task force of the Ministry of the Interior will meet again with representatives of all ministries concerned and of the federal states.

In addition, they are in close contact with the Italian authorities.

Asked whether a closure of the borders was also in the offing, Nehammer said that this was a "question of the experts' assessment".

In principle, such a step would have to be "implemented very quickly", border controls could be "ramped up" within minutes or within an hour.

The difficult strategy in this case would be: "What health-related measures are implemented at the border, similar to those at the airport, for example, or do we have to take specific measures?