Some years ago, the Austrian government made it illegal to wear masks in public with an “anti-concealment law”. Back then, the Chancellor now in office, together with a far-right party in a coalition government decided it. This was very difficult for Japanese residing in Austria and Japanese tourists. But finally the government allowed wearing masks in public! Today（March 30th) at a press conference at 11:00 the chancellor said that soon there will be masks handed out at the entrance to supermarkets and those masks must be worn inside！However the government stressed that this measure is to protect others. Also in this conference, i liked the speech of Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Green Party), which he started by addressing all people living in Austria. In contrast, the Chancellor started his speech with the words “Dear Austrians”. Many people from foreign countries live in Austria and especially in Vienna, where I live. I really hope that because of this crisis countries will help each other and I truly wish that hatred will not be directed towards foreigners.
Go go go！Every day I go out for a walk through the city of Vienna for health. Walking slowly or resting on a bench is not advised by the government at this time. Often police cars and officers on foot are on patrol in the streets.
Public transport should also be avoided except for going to work etc.
Outside of your own living space, one should always keep a distance from others of at least one metre. Every day at a bakery I buy some bread or sandwich for lunch. In the afternoon I go out for a second short walk to go to a supermarket for groceries. Such necessary businesses are open and there is plenty of merchandise. Also inside the stores people keep their distance from each other. Since few are on the streets it is also like that inside the stores.
Schools are still closed but that does not mean there is a break. They have enough homework and most can do their studies via the internet. Those children who cannot be supervised at home can come to their schools and do the homework there.
Concerning domestic violence there is a telephone helpline which is always available for help. There has already been an increase of regstered calls of 50% compared to normal levels.
Since everybody is always at home, the utility bills such as electricity, water, etc. add up but if people cannot pay those bills right now, those services will continue regardless.
On TV there are spots to help recruit people to help with the harvest because foreign workers must return to their country and there is a labour shortage right now. There are also TV spots for thanking those who are on duty right now such as sales assistants, doctors, police officers etc.
Those Austrians still abroad were called on by the government to return to Austria as soon as possible.
In my opinion the measures taken by the Austrian government against the spreading of Coronavirus quite good. I get a feeling that Austria as a country does indeed protect its citizens and inhabitants. “Whatever the cost” is something the Austrian government has promised and is actively trying to pursue. At this time I have quite a positive impression of the government and I hope they will succeed.
At the Black Plague Memorial on Graben Vienna, some candles were lit. There is also a picture of Saint Corona. She was a Christian martyr. My thoughts are with the victims and I hope the menace of Covid-19 shall pass quickly… (“Pestsäule” Erected as a symbol of overcoming the Black Plague, which ended in 1679)
Kawaranatane Music by Shin Kusakawa, Lyrics by Hirosuke Hamada ,Yuka Simeno – Soprano, Hina Oono – Piano/ In Spring on a small island in a river, yellow rape flowers are in beautiful bloom… /河原菜種 草川信作曲、浜田広介作詞、 示野由佳 ソプラノ、大野日菜 ピアノ/ From the CD “Japanese Songs” (2011) CD「日本の歌より」（２０１１年）より
Today is the beginning of Spring. In Vienna the weather is beautiful with a daytime high about 22 degrees. In Austria, because of restrictions due to Coronavirus people should stay home but moving around for a walk without any social contact (more than one metre) , except the ones you live with, is allowed.
Three pictures were taken today.
From the top: 1) Mozart statue in Burggarten, this statue is always dificult to take a picture of because there are always people around taking pictures or resting. Right now Burggarten is closed to the public so there is no one inside. I took the picture through the fence.
2) Stephansplatz, The very centre of Vienna. Although it is a regular Friday almost no one is there.
3) Kärntnerstrase, normally filled with tourists and shoppers and a lively enrergy. Equally few people. Top of Stephansdome, symbol of Vienna, visible
Because of the Coronavirus, there are special measures in effect in Austria. For example to combat the spreading, social interaction and contact must be reduced to a minimum, etc. Thereby one should stay at home as much as possible during that time. Yesterday on TV the Austrian government mentioned the issue of domestic violence in this context. Because people have to stay home it is conceivable that stress will increase and released in the family, or those families already experiencing a tendency of domestic violence could see it increased. Having to stay at home as justification for violence is not permitted. Current legislation in this regard will be enforced. When I saw this, I thought “Ah, such families do indeed exist” and I felt as though that problem was made apparent. Personally I felt somewhat restricted due to the measures and did not much think about others. Maybe if the quarantine lasts a long time, I might release some of that frustration at my husband. I find it meaningful that the government publicly announced this on TV.
My primary school was in Kochi city, full of nature. When I was in school there were many rice fields, where now are many residential properties. I used to walk about one kilometer to school through rice fields. Every season I could really feel nature. Always in spring I enjoyed many Renge blossoms before rice was planted. I think Renge is red clover and when I looked out the window from my primary school from the highest floor (3rd floor) over the athletic grounds, everything was in lovely pink colour like a carpet. Each year after school I collected many many Renge flowers that I could barely hold them in my hands. Do Renge blossom now…? My thoughts go to my hometown but when I am there now, it is not exactly the same as when I was a child…
By the way, in Buddhism “Renge” is Lotus flower. Because Renge flower looks a bit like Lotus, Buddhist farmers liked to call this flower “Renge”. I don’t know if this is really true.
In Austria, where I live, every day the number of infected by the corona virus rises. Today some towns in Salzburg province were added to the quarantine list. Because all shops except groceries, pharmacies, etc. are closed, it is said that many businesses are in danger of going bankrupt and joblessness will rise. Today the Austrian government made te announcement “whatever the cost” they will invest in order to help people, businesses etc. .”Whatever the cost”. How many politicians can honestly say those words. It remains to be seen whether this can be totally effective but it encourages people.
No restaurants, no cafe, no parties, no gym, no park, no theatre, no concert, no museum, no cinema, no airplane, no lessons… Starting today in Austria there are severe restrictions to combat the coronavirus. No, no, no… so many restrictions. Looking through the window the weather is so beautiful outside and I hear my neighbour playing the guitar and singing by himself… Patience! I have to take this word to heart. “Shashamo shamoshamo shashamoshamo shashamonakereba shashamonai” Those are magic words my grandmother used to mumble. During sewing when the thread gets tangled and one cannot find beginning and ending, she murmured those words trying to entangle the thread during sewing. This activity really gets on your nerves but murmuring these magic words one could get patience and eventually succeed in detangling the thread. After a long time I saw a beautiful blue sky filled with sunlight while murmuring those magic words…