Mini changes to controversial new corona laws

The controversial changes in the new Corona laws will be changed slightly after critical statements in the assessment process. As for that passage, according to which an event already exists when four people get together, up to six children are now added and there is a time limit. In addition, the compulsory test for certain occupational groups is relaxed. FPÖ and NEOS stick to their criticism.

With regard to the test obligation, for example for educators or officials with customer contact, “medical or factual test obstacles” were included as factors that had to be taken into account, according to a broadcast by Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens).

The regulation for the confluence of groups of four or more people is now anchored in the COVID-19 Measures Act and not in the Epidemic Act and is therefore limited and only applies to legal acts in connection with the corona crisis. Ordinances on meetings can only be issued for a maximum of four weeks. In addition, the current draft provides for a time limit of ten days if this regulation affects private living areas, which, however, may not be monitored any further.

There are also changes to the exit rules. Shorter restrictions such as night curfews should already be possible if contact tracking can no longer be maintained due to the uncontrolled spread of the virus. In principle, this is attributed to the fact that a collapse of health care is a prerequisite for the restrictions.

Many suggestions from the appraisal had been taken up in full or at least in the most important points, emphasized Anschober. Completely new and of essential importance is that for the first time rights for vaccinated persons are anchored and thus the legal basis for the introduction of the green passport as a document of proof of immunity is created. The corresponding passage provides that the vaccination can exempt from requirements, in particular from the obligation to test. Vaccinated, tested and convalescent persons can in future be treated as equivalent by prescription, provided that there is reliable scientific evidence for this. Vaccinated people can also be exempt from access restrictions.

The submission is to be dealt with on Thursday in the health committee. This means that they could be adopted in plenary next week.

The opposition parties FPÖ and NEOS were more than dissatisfied with the changes. For FPÖ social spokeswoman Dagmar Belakowitsch “the totalitarian tenor” has remained in the laws. “You force everyone into the vaccination, you force everyone into the test, you monitor everyone”, criticized Belakowitsch and accused the government of introducing a test and vaccination apartheid and the division of society before. The liberal social spokeswoman also expressed her fear that the coming ordinances would be even worse, because the law is “an unrestricted license for the total surveillance state”.

NEOS health spokesman Gerald Loacker also reacts indignantly: “These laws are an imposition for every citizen in this country. The new version of the amendment is embarrassing to others.” The passage on exit restrictions, for example, would contradict itself in two sentences. “On the one hand, the paragraph speaks of exit restrictions as a last resort, but in the next sentence it speaks of the fact that not all other measures have to be exhausted.” Health Minister Anschober has apparently learned nothing from twelve months of the pandemic, Loacker said.

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