Death of doctor who faced threats over COVID shocks Austria
BERLIN (AP) — Austrian political leaders have expressed shock over the death of a doctor who closed her practice after she reported receiving death threats from opponents of COVID-19 restrictions and vaccines.
The body of Dr. Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, a general practitioner who had publicly stressed the effectiveness of vaccination, was found at her practice office in a rural area of northern Austria on Friday, Austrian media said.
Prosecutors in Wels confirmed a suicide and said notes were found, the contents of which they would not divulge, the Austria Press Agency reported.
Kellermayr announced a month ago that she was closing the practice temporarily after more than seven months of receiving death threats. She said she had spent over 100,000 euros ($102,000) on security.
In mid-July, Kellermayr said was permanently closing the practice because she couldn’t “offer any perspective for whether or when it will be possible for us to work under ‘normal’ circumstances.”
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen wrote on Twitter that his thoughts were with Kellermayr’s family and friends.
“Let us end this intimidation and fear. Hatred and intolerance have no place in our Austria. Let us always find a way to live together peacefully,” he said.
Health Minister Johannes Rauch said Kellermayr’s death “deeply shocks me.”
“As a doctor, she dedicated her life to the health and well-being of others,” Rauch tweeted. “Death threats against her and her colleagues were brutal reality.” He called such threatening behavior inexcusable and said it “must finally stop.”
In June, prosecutors in Wels closed an investigation of a German suspected of threatening Kellermayr, saying German authorities were responsible for the case, APA reported. Police in Austria continued an investigation against persons unknown.