Three Corona Tales From Central Europe

Below are three German-language articles concerning COVID-19 in Central Europe and the experimental mRNA treatment that is intended to mitigate its effects. All have been translated by Hellequin GB.

The first article is from Austria, and concerns the planned incentives for inducing citizens to take the (mandatory) vax.

From the German-language service of Epoch Times:

Carrot and stick? Vaccination lottery and compulsory vaccination decided

After a long debate, a lot of criticism and some changes, Austria is introducing a general corona vaccination obligation and thus the most far-reaching regulation in the EU to date. In addition to penalties for those who refuse to vaccinate, there will also be financial incentives for those who have been vaccinated.

Austria was the first country in the European Union to decide to introduce general corona vaccination. The draft law was approved by a large majority on Thursday evening after a debate lasting several hours by the members of the Vienna Parliament.

The step is the most far-reaching regulation in the EU to date. Italy and Greece only have mandatory vaccinations for older people. In addition, a vaccination lottery worth up to €1.4 billion in Austria is intended to increase the willingness to immunize.

The compulsory vaccination will apply to all citizens who are at least 18 years old. Exceptions are made for pregnant women and anyone who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. Those who have recovered are also exempt from the obligation to vaccinate for up to 180 days after contracting Covid-19.

Violations of the obligation are subject to income-related penalties of up to €3,600 euros. The Bundesrat, that is, the chamber of the federal states, will probably also have to approve the law on February 3 — but that is considered a formality.

Criticism and Defense

Austria’s Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens) defended the Corona vaccination requirement in the parliamentary debate as an act of solidarity and cohesion. “The more people who have a Corona vaccination, the fewer die as a result of a Corona pandemic,” said the minister on Thursday.

The FPÖ is the only parliamentary party that opposes compulsory vaccination. “The introduction of this compulsion is a gigantic attack on the freedom of the people in Austria, an attack on the human dignity of the population,” said FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl.

The new law has triggered massive public criticism. During the assessment phase, more than 100,000 mostly critical comments reached Parliament. Tens of thousands demonstrate regularly in Austria against the Corona measures.

Implementation in stages

The law is to be implemented in several stages. Random checks by the authorities are not planned until mid-March. For example, the police should also check the vaccination status during their operations. There has also been criticism from the police union for this additional task.

The originally planned seamless control by comparing the population register with the vaccination register is only intended as an option. This measure should be made dependent on whether the vaccination rate increases significantly.

According to the government, €500 may be won for each partial vaccination in the vaccination lottery, which can be redeemed as vouchers in restaurants or in retail. Not only those who have already been vaccinated can take part, but also those who have yet to be vaccinated. Around every tenth person vaccinated should have a chance of winning.

A total of €75 million will be distributed for communities with a vaccination rate of 80 percent, €150 million for 85 percent and €300 million for 90 percent.

Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens) described a quota of 85 to 90 percent among the “vaccinable population” from the age of five as a target. It is currently around 75 percent. The vaccination rate of the total population is 72 percent.

The second article discusses Czechia’s decision to back off from the mandatory vax.

From the news service of Vienna.at:

The Czech Republic withdrew from the planned compulsory vaccination

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala abolishes the planned compulsory vaccination for seniors. Employees in the healthcare system would also have been affected.

The Czech Republic is reversing its decision to make vaccination compulsory for seniors and certain occupational groups. The new Prime Minister Petr Fiala assured after a cabinet meeting in Prague on Wednesday that there would be no vaccination requirement under his government. One does not want to deepen the rifts in society, said the liberal-conservative politician as justification.

Predecessor Babiš advocated compulsory vaccination

The previous government under Andrej Babiš had decided on the limited vaccination requirement in December as one of their last actions. The regulation was supposed to come into force in March. The compulsory vaccination would apply to people over 60 years of age, police officers, firefighters, soldiers and employees in health care and nursing homes, among others.

Record number of infections in the Czech Republic

According to the EU health authority ECDC, 62.9 percent of the population in the Czech Republic have received basic immunization against Covid-19. Almost a third of the population also received a booster vaccination. That is less than in Germany and other Western European countries. The Omicron wave is meanwhile causing a record number of new Corona infections. On Wednesday, the health authorities reported 28,469 new cases within 24 hours.

At its meeting, the cabinet also launched a new version of the Pandemic Act. The law, which would otherwise expire at the end of February, gives the health authorities far-reaching powers. For example, shops can be closed.

Afterword from the translator:

The way I see these U-turns is not in a positive light: these people will hold onto power by any means, and will go to any length to further their agenda, one way or the other. This is not over until the last one of them dances their countries’ equivalent of the Tyburn Jig.

And finally, some good old-fashioned graft from Germany. The new governing coalition includes the Greens, and those save-the-planet activists are masters of corruption, in Germany and everywhere else. The current corruption scandal centers on Corona money — what else?

From Die Welt:

Public prosecutors are investigating Baerbock and Habeck on suspicion of embezzlement

According to a report by Der Spiegel, the Berlin public prosecutor’s office is investigating all members of the federal executive committee of the Greens, including the two party leaders. The background is therefore Corona special payments to the members of the board in 2020.

According to a media report, the Berlin public prosecutor’s office is investigating the federal executive committee of the Greens. In addition to the two party leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, the investigations are directed against the two deputy party leaders, Ricarda Lang and Jamila Schaefer, federal director Michael Kellner, and federal treasurer Marc Urbatsch.

The public prosecutor’s office and the Greens confirmed the process to the Der Spiegel. The accusation is embezzlement to the detriment of their own party. These are allegedly illegal special Corona payments of €1,500 each, which the board members received from their party in 2020. In the 2021 federal election campaign, there had been debates about special payments to party leader Baerbock. At the time, Baerbock said about the payments: “Of course I was annoyed about my mistake.”

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