Austrian Chancellor: We took coronavirus seriously thanks to Netanyahu

Austrian Chancellor in interview with Israeli TV: Conversation with Netnayahu caused us to take the coronavirus issue more seriously.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Sebastian Kurz
Sebastian Kurz
Reuters

While other European countries treated the coronavirus with utmost complacency, Austria was the first country to close its borders with its neighbors.

Many on the continent at the time condemned Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's decision to take such drastic steps, but today Austria has 5,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and only 30 have died.

In an interview with Kan 11 News’ Chief Europe Correspondent Antonia Yamin, which aired on Wednesday, Kurz said that it was a phone call from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that made him act to curb the virus.

“I contacted Bibi Netanyahu and he told me his opinion, that several countries in Europe aren’t doing enough and that he is concerned that Europe isn’t treating the problem as it should,” said Kurz.

“This, of course, caused us to treat the issue more firmly and quickly make decisions. I thank Bibi Netanyahu for the conversation we held a few weeks ago which led to the fact that we were the first to respond in Europe,” added the Chancellor.

The Chancellor also said that to this point, the compliance and cooperation of the population in Austria has proven itself, though, like Netanyahu, he has not ruled out electronic surveillance of coronavirus carriers.

"We are exploring this possibility and learning from Asian countries all the time," he said.

Kurz’s message to the Israeli people is: “Hang on. The restrictions are difficult but that is what will ultimately save us all.”

His comments in this interview echo the ones he made in an interview with the German newspaper Bild over the weekend.

"Netanyahu told me in the conversation: 'It will reach Europe and you can reduce the infection as much as possible. Wake up and do something,'" Kurz told the German newspaper, adding that after the conversation, he decided to take significant steps and closed the schools, restaurants and shops in his country. In addition, he imposed movement restrictions on citizens.

Kurz has expressed support for Israel in the past and has spoken out against Iran’s leaders who have called for Israel’s destruction.

He has also pledged to make "combating anti-Semitism in all its forms" a top priority. Last year, he condemned the rocket attacks from Gaza onto Israeli territory and stressed his country’s commitment to Israel.




top