‘Exhausted by coronavirus pandemic’: Austrian health minister quits post

‘Exhausted by coronavirus pandemic’: Austrian health minister quits post
Credit: Belga

The Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober announced his resignation on Tuesday, saying he felt "exhausted" by the management of the coronavirus crisis in the country.

During a press conference in the capital Vienna, the 60-year-old said the last 15 months had felt like 15 years, and announced he would leave his post on Monday 19 April.

"I'm not suffering from a burn-out, otherwise I wouldn't be here, but for the past few weeks, I've been lacking energy," he said.

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Anschober, who was hospitalised at the start of March for "cardiovascular problems,” referred back to the start of the pandemic, just two months after he had been appointed minister within the coalition with the conservatives of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

"The ministry became the crisis management centre for the pandemic overnight, and despite making mistakes, we did a lot of things right," he said.

The Tweet reads: "Today, I am announcing my departure from the Federal Government. In times of the pandemic, we need a health minister who is 100 per cent fit, which I am not at the moment."

During the first wave of the pandemic, Anschober was recognised for his efforts in successfully keeping the number of victims in the country low, but since last autumn, Austria has been unable to contain the spread of the epidemic despite several confinements, which have led to growing discontent from the general public.

He added that the situation in hospitals and intensive care units in Austria, which has recorded 9,706 deaths in a population of 8.9 million, is dramatic.

Anschober also expressed grief over the “divisions”, "aggressiveness among some" and "conflicts of interest", in a veiled criticism of Kurz, who has held his ministry responsible for the country’s slow vaccine rollout due to a lack of Pfizer vaccines being purchased.

Werner Kogler, Green Party leader and Vice-Chancellor, will take over the Ministry of Health until a successor has been presented, which is expected to happen later on Tuesday.

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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