Briefly put the mask behind the protective screen and explain the next steps
Status: 1:27 p.m. | Reading time: 3 minutes
Austria wants to slowly ease its drastic measures in the fight against the corona virus right after Easter. This applies to trading – however, the exit restrictions will be extended until the end of April. Schools will also remain closed until May.
MWith a safety margin and behind a protective screen, Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz takes off his mask and announces the next steps in the corona crisis: after Easter, the slow way back towards normalcy should begin. Kurz (ÖVP) announced on Monday in Vienna that the goal is to allow small shops, as well as DIY and garden centers to reopen under strict conditions from April 14th. From May 1st, all shops, shopping centers and hairdressers should be allowed to reopen. Hotels and restaurants should follow in the middle of May at the earliest.
The exit restrictions will be extended until the end of April and the schools will remain closed until mid-May. Events should not take place until the end of June. In addition, wearing a face mask will be mandatory not only in supermarkets and drug stores, but also in public transport. This rule should apply from next Monday.
“The quick and restrictive reaction now also gives us the opportunity to get out of this crisis faster,” said Kurz. “However, only if we continue to consistently adhere to the measures and stand together as well as we have done so far.” Especially with a view to Easter, Kurz asked people to avoid further social contacts and keep a distance from each other. He added: “Stay with the people you live with.”
Austria is one of the first European countries to try to loosen up its measures in the fight against the coronavirus right after Easter. In Denmark, too, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has announced that he will probably want to gradually reopen the country after Easter. However, she has not yet presented a precise plan. In the Czech Republic, minor exemptions for trade are currently being discussed, but the minority cabinet is very controversial on this issue.
Measures in Austria are having an effect
Austria has been running at a minimum since March 16: With the exception of grocery stores and drugstores, the retail trade is closed and all bars and restaurants are closed. In addition, exit restrictions apply; standing together in groups is not permitted. In the particularly affected federal state of Tyrol, quarantine applies to all municipalities until Easter Monday. People are only allowed to leave their place of residence with good reason. In the state of Salzburg, too, communities are under quarantine, including the Saalbach-Hinterglemm, which is popular with winter sports enthusiasts.
Finally, it became clear that these measures are obviously working: the number of confirmed infections with Sars-CoV-2 has only been increasing slowly for several days, the number of Covid-19 patients in the intensive care units has stagnated. As of Monday, 8:00 a.m., there were 12,008 confirmed infections in Austria – this corresponds to around 136 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
The daily rate of increase in new infections was recently around two percent – compared to 20 percent and more at the beginning of the measures in mid-March. Since Saturday, the number of people recovering has also increased faster than that of the newly confirmed cases. Less than 3 out of 100,000 people in Austria are newly infected with Sars-CoV-2 every day.