Second Lockdown: Warning of Medical Bottlenecks

More+More+ ♦ Published: October 31, 2020; 17:36 ♦ (Vindobona)

The reason for the second Austrian lockdown is the explosive growth in coronavirus numbers and the danger of overloading intensive care. What is the situation in hospitals and nursing homes?

Although most of the infected persons have a mild course, a certain percentage even needs intensive medical care. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / User:Pflatsch / CC BY-SA (

These "hard" steps, as Chancellor Kurz called them, are made necessary by the recent sharp rise in coronavirus numbers. For months Austria has been showing a steady growth, last week "almost an explosion", commented the Chancellor. Although most of the infected persons had a mild course, a certain percentage even needed intensive medical care.

"If we do not act now, intensive care will be overloaded," warned the Chancellor. The interventions "in our social life" were "dramatic", said the Chancellor; the "second lockdown" was not easy for the government, but in view of the situation it was necessary.

Weekly tests in nursing homes

Visits to hospitals, health resorts and nursing homes are limited to protect the sick, the elderly, those in need of care and the staff. Up to and including November 17, visits are only allowed every two days, with a maximum of one visitor per day. In total, patients, seniors or people in need of care in hospitals and nursing homes can receive a maximum of two different visitors in the next two weeks.

The corresponding measures were announced by Health Minister Rudolf Anschober at the joint government press conference. All visitors must either have a negative test result or wear adequate respiratory protection - an FFP2 mask. The minimum distance must be observed. Palliative and hospice care as well as pastoral care during critical life events are exempted from this rule. External, non-medical service providers are prohibited from entering old people's homes and nursing homes.

Employees in the respective facilities must - depending on availability - present a negative PCR or antigen test result every week. Alternatively, an FFP2 mask can be worn throughout the course of the job.