Austria: The Coronavirus Chronicles
by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
Week 1 in a country in complete shutdown.
Austria has been at the forefront in forcing its citizens to “shelter in place” by enacting measures so draconian that even the country’s elderly, having survived World War II, cannot remember anything similar. In order to snuff out a virus that originated in China only a few months ago and has since made its way around the world thanks to globalism, countless other countries have followed Austria’s lead. Only a week ago — it seems like eons ago! — the Austrian government, led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz who heeded a dire warning by acting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, apparently deeply concerned about the critical situation (its reasons expertly explained by Guy Miliere) in its neighboring country Italy, enacted a first set of measures, followed by the previously-mentioned drastic rules. Austria’s confinement measures were recently extended until April 13.
Countries in Europe and around the world are reacting to threat of the Covid-19 in different ways. Soeren Kern has done an excellent survey here; a collection of reports from local journalists on how they are experiencing the lockdown across Europe may be found here.
And yet there are other noteworthy findings:
- Climate change, Greta Thunberg, Fridays for Future are now mostly irrelevant. Health measures clearly take precedence over kids cutting school. Nevertheless, the political Left has always been adept at never letting a crisis go to waste and using it to do things that couldn’t be done before (Rahm Emanuel). One case in point is the Austrian minister of health, a radical member of the Greens party, who is on the record for saying (threatening?): “I am looking forward to the day we have successfully weathered the Corona crisis and when we tackle the climate crisis with similar political consequence.”
- Borders matter! Europeans and Americans concerned about porous borders have been vindicated as borders on both sides of the Atlantic are closed. In addition to the imminent collapse of the Schengen open-borders system, which beginning in 1995 put an end to bothersome passport controls in an area of 26 European countries. And President Trump announced that, “We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic.”
- Sovereignty and nationalism matter. Karen Siegemund, president of the American Freedom Alliance, notes:
Notice how each country — country! — took upon itself its right to sovereign action to protect its citizens.
Italy imposed quarantines; Austria closed its borders and implemented various restrictions on gatherings and mandated closures of entertainment venues, restaurants etc. Even Germany has now closed its borders.
Borders in the context of Europe is an astounding thing, and it’s heartbreaking that it took a virus, and the deaths it’s left in its wake, rather than the years-long invasions for them to assert sovereignty, and to finally, finally, turn to protecting their citizens.
- “Europe” in the form of the European Union has been silent. The United Nations doesn’t even seem to be speaking out although, in a rational world they’d be calling for “Crimes against humanity” charges to be brought against China; further proof of the UN’s uselessness at best, and of the EU’s utter irrelevance.
It’s nations putting the health, safety and security of their people above all else that will stem the spread of this virus; it’s a nightmare that it took this pandemic to wake governments up to the primacy of their people as the core of their responsibility.