Austria’s government announced Oct 31, Saturday a second mass shutdown and a curfew starting next week until the end of November, in an attempt to halt rocketing coronavirus infection numbers.
Austria has announced strict nationwide restrictions to tackle the rapid resurgence of coronavirus infections.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at a news conference on Saturday night that a second lockdown will be imposed from Tuesday until the end of November.
The measures include the closure of cafes, restaurants, and bars except for deliveries and takeaway. Hotels will be closed with the exception of business trips, and events and other leisure activities will be banned.
People will be urged to stay home between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they have to go to work or go for a walk for health reasons.
To compensate for the losses incurred by the restrictions, Kurz said the government will provide affected companies with 80 percent of their sales in November of last year.
The central European country imposed the first nationwide lockdown in March to contain the first wave of the outbreak. But the number of infections has surged again recently, with the daily tally exceeding 5,300 on Saturday.
The government says hospital beds for intensive care may be overwhelmed in mid-November if infections continue to spread at the current pace.
Kurz had previously said he would do his utmost to avoid a second lockdown but said he had been forced to act by the rising numbers.
While Austria had one of the world’s best healthcare systems, “if we don’t act now we our intensive care capacity will be overwhelmed,” he said.
He added he hoped the country could take steps back towards more freedom in December if the new lockdown drove down infection numbers.