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Austria's former health minister becomes best-selling author

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Austria's former health minister becomes best-selling author
Austria's Health Minister Rudolf Anschober addresses a press conference on April 13, 2021. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Rudolf Anschober’s book about the Covid crisis, “Pandemia”, has reached the number one spot on the bestseller list of non-fiction books in Austria.

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Austria's former health minister, Rudolf Anschober, from the Green party, has become a best-selling author, as his non-fiction book “Pandemia” climbed to the top spot on the Austrian non-fiction list in April.

The book contains an analysis of Covid policy, as well as fictional accounts of three characters’ pandemic experiences, based on interviews he conducted in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

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Its success shows the immense interest in coming to terms with the first years of the Covid crisis, Anschober told the German press agency. “The pandemic changes everyone," he said.

Anschober served as health minister in the Austrian coalition government from January 2020 to April 2021 and, at times, surpassed then-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in popularity. He stepped down after 15 months in the job, stating that he was “overworked and powered out”.

READ ALSO: ‘15 months has felt like 15 years’: Why Austria’s health minister called it quits

Speaking to the German Press Agency, Anschober said that one of the basic mistakes made by politicians in the course of the pandemic was to lump vaccination skeptics and vaccination opponents together. Among the 30 percent of non-vaccinated people in Austria, only one in three is completely against the jab, he said, while the rest are just in need of more persuasion.

The spreading carelessness in the face of declining infection numbers is another problematic issue, Anschober said.

"Shaking people out of this carefree mood is the hardest thing of all," he said.

In his book, Anschober advocates for a pan-European pandemic plan, including no hasty openings following the end of an infection wave, continued intensive vaccination programmes and an improvement to the testing system. But the former minister leaves it up to the current politicians to devise the details.

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