The Austrian health minister announced his resignation on Tuesday, stating that he could not continue in the grueling work of helping lead the country’s coronavirus response to persistent personal health problems caused by overwork.
Rudolf Ansberker, 60, was health minister since January last year when his Green Party became a junior partner in a governing coalition under conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
The soft-spoken minister has been one of the main faces of Austria’s coronavirus response, which has received mixed reviews.
Ansberche, who suffered burnout nine years ago, said he suffered sudden fatigue as well as two episodes of high blood pressure and tinnitus in the past month.
He said he was “visibly overworked” and had not felt “fully fit” for several weeks. It was not a burnout, he said, but doctors advised him to take a break.
“In the most serious health crisis for decades, the Republic needs a Health Minister who is 100% fit,” Anschober said. “I am not at the moment, and if I do not apply the emergency brake I will not be there in the coming weeks.”
He said, “This epidemic takes no break and therefore the Health Minister also cannot take a break.”
Austria was one of the first countries in Western Europe to mandate the use of masks last year and was able to quickly reduce its first lockdown.
Like many other European countries, it has struggled to find a coherent line in the epidemic since last fall. Austria placed too many bets on opening certain areas to those with negative tests, but has not been able to break the succession of lockdowns and currently has an infection rate much higher than neighboring Germany.
“In the whole case, I think we did a good job” “In an epidemic, no one is free from mistakes.” Mistakes happen the most. … We were in a secluded area. “
“My impression is that it is more than 15 years, not 15 months,” he said of his time in office.