Despite a widespread resurgence in coronavirus cases across Austria, the country is currently looking into reducing the existing quarantine requirement from ten days.
Some have advocated for a five-day quarantine period, while others have called for quarantine to be ended through testing.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told media that the “Ministry of Health is currently examining shorter quarantine”.
Kurz said reducing the quarantine period – a matter being considered across Europe – would be “desirable”, but should only be done “if it is scientifically justifiable”.
The position has put him at odds with Austria’s Health Minister Rudolf Anschober, who said any reduction in the existing quarantine would be “too risky”.
“In times of massive increases in the number of infections, I am not prepared to take an increased risk for the population,” Anschober said last weekend, reports Kurier.
Kurz said Austria was investigating reducing the duration of the quarantine in combination with a testing regime to ensure that people can re-enter society.
“Regardless of whether we are talking about a teacher, a police officer, a student or any other person, it is of course demanding to be cut off from the outside world for 10 days,” Kurz said.
“That is a burden for the business location, it is a burden for families. The shorter this phase, the better. It is clear, however, that a risk assessment must always be made here. You can only go this way if it is scientifically justifiable. “
Some within the government have gone further, with Ministers Werner Faßmann and Elisabeth Köstinger calling for quarantine to be shortened to five days in certain cases – i.e. when a person has had contact with an infected person, but has not showed symptoms for five days after the contact.