Austria's Minister of Health declares resignation

Rudolf anschober Austria's Minister of Health declares resignation

Austrian Minister of Health Anschober

The Austrian Minister of Health Rudolf Anschober during a press conference in Vienna. Photo: Roland Schlager / APA / dpa

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Austria's Minister of Health says he has been working practically for 14 months. The health consequences of this tour de force force him to take drastic steps.

Austria's Minister of Health Rudolf Anschober (Greens) has announced his resignation for health reasons.

A week ago he suffered a second circulatory collapse, said the 60-year-old on Tuesday in Vienna. "I noticed that I now have to pull an emergency brake for myself." The country needs an absolutely fit health minister in this phase.

Since the start of the government made up of the conservative ÖVP and the Greens in January 2020, Anschober has headed the health department, which became the key department during the pandemic. He had been working practically for 14 months. Anschober had suffered a burnout during his years as state minister in Upper Austria. 

In the summer of 2020, his objective demeanor made him so popular at times that he ousted Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) from the top spot in the popularity scale of federal politicians in a political barometer. "One of my advantages is that I actually become very calm in a crisis situation," said Anschober once. 

However, he was also responsible for numerous technical errors in the flood of ordinances that his company issued during the pandemic. Most recently, problems with starting the vaccination and communication breakdowns were also chalked up. A top official from his department should not have informed him about the possibility of further orders for vaccination doses. This led to an open conflict with Kurz.  

With the move, Kurz has to replace a member of the government for the second time. In January, Family and Labor Minister Christine Aschbacher resigned after allegations of plagiarism relating to her master's thesis and dissertation.