Foto: Fatih Aydogdu, Eva Schuster, Marie Jecel
It is a bit unfair: Why do children in all of Austria have to stay at home?

Let’s say it this way: You are not alone! There is now a curfew for over 2.6 billion people worldwide, half of which call India home. Where the virus first appeared in humans, in the Chinese province of Hubei and the city of Wuhan, there were also the first restrictions on freedom. People were not allowed to leave their house for two months. As our way of life in the West is becoming more strict, life in China is beginning to normalize again. The schools will remain closed for now.

Foto: Fatih Aydogdu, Eva Schuster, Marie Jecel
Does that mean everyone else is just like me?

Yes, most of them anyway. Italians, Spaniards, or French- everyone has to stay at home. The British are even shut down now. At first, their government took an approach that as many people as possible should become infected so that after a while everyone develops resistance against the virus. The schools have been closed since Friday and almost all the shops had to close this week. Similar to us, supermarkets and pharmacies remain open. Meeting friends is no longer possible. You can only go out with family members. As well as essential errands, some countries only allow going out for a walk. Each country differently regulates how long this stays that way.

Foto: Fatih Aydogdu, Eva Schuster, Marie Jecel
I would much rather be in Brazil. Why are the children there allowed to do what I am not allowed?

This is only because their president completely underestimates the risk of the virus. More and more states of Brazil are currently making their own rules to make people stay at home. This is the only way to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Hopefully, the more people follow the rules, the faster it will be over. In many countries, there are also large penalties for not adhering to exit restrictions. The police even send drones on patrol in Italy.

Foto: Fatih Aydogdu
What is the Austrian president doing now?

The government and a team of appointed experts, the crisis team, are responsible for the fight against Corona. However, the president is not inactive. Alexander Van der Bellen gave a speech that was aired on television last week. He asked everyone, adults, and children, to not stand close together, to keep their distance, to not shake hands, and to wash their hands regularly. He also regularly discusses the current situation with the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor as well as the Minister of Health and the Interior, which we do not see on TV.

Foto: Fatih Aydogdu, Eva Schuster, Marie Jecel
Is he always at home now and doesn’t meet anyone, like us?

Yes, he is like you. The president is currently at home. However, he works and does a video conference with his team every day. He also watched the Finance Minister’s speech on television on Friday. There is a photo of it. Mr. Van der Bellen is watching very seriously there. He usually sits in the bleachers of the Parliament listening to this speech, but this time it didn’t work out because of the coronavirus.

Foto: Präsidentschaftskanzlei
If the president was still a student, what would he do?

If the president were still a student, he would have to do the assignments given by teachers, like all other children. And he would read books because he loves reading books. And also comics like Donald Duck. But one thing is for sure, he would also miss his friends from school. (Peter Mayr, Karin Riss, Translation: Emily York, 8.4.2020)