Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has told a German newspaper that it was his conversation with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu that led to him shutting Austria’s borders over the coronavirus.
Kurz told a Bild reporter that he “thanks God” for the Israeli prime minister who apparently urged Austria’s young leader to “wake up and do something”.
The two men have struck up a good friendship, with Kurz the first world leader to congratulate Netanyahu on his “clear victory” following Israel’s general election earlier this month. Netanyahu’s Likud won three more seats than the leading opposition party but has been left with few parliamentary allies.
Austria introduced a root-and-branch system of societal quarantine earlier than Germany, with a stay-at-home policy and closed borders, including those with Italy. There have been more than 3,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country to-date, with eight deaths.