Austrian Chancellor: Netanyahu convinced me to act against coronavirus

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says PM Netanyahu urged him to take preventive measures to combat COVID-19.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Sebastian Kurz and Binyamin Netanyahu
Sebastian Kurz and Binyamin Netanyahu
Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL YEDIOTH AHRONOTH

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is the one who prompted him to take intensive action against the coronavirus.

In an interview with the German newspaper Bild, Kurz said that a conversation with the Prime Minister about two weeks ago woke him up from his complacency.

"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 said.

After the conversation with Netanyahu, the Chancellor decided to take significant steps and closed the schools, restaurants and shops in his country. In addition, he imposed movement restrictions on citizens.

"This decision has made an impact and the contagion curve is headed in the positive direction. The measures will prevent the collapse of the health care system as has happened in different countries," said the Chancellor.

"We saw what happened in neighboring Italy and that is not far from us. People are dying there because they cannot be treated. I am proud of the citizens of Austria who obeyed the instructions and stayed home," he concluded.

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.



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