Austria Enters Hard Lockdown: ‘Every Social Contact is One Too Many’

Reopening to be Limited to Individuals with Proof of Negative Covid-19 Test

By Kurt Stolz on 26 December 2020
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The Riesenrad, the ferris wheel that is one of the symbols of the city of Vienna

Austria entered a hard lockdown on Saturday as the country tries to bring the seven-day incidence rate below 100.

At the time Bundeskanzler Sebastian Kurz announced the action on December 18, the seven-day incidence was at 198.Kurz told Austrians that the first quarter of 2021 would be “a gloomy one.”

The Bundeskanzler called for “as many people as possible” in Austria to show solidarity and comply with the lockdown restrictions.  He underscored the fact that the celebration of holidays and cultural events and even going out to a restaurant will not be possible in the future without testing on a massive scale in the months to come.

In November, in announcing a less stringent lockdown, Kurz issued a plea for people to restrict all social interactions.

“My urgent plea for the next four weeks is: meet nobody,” Kurz said. “Every social contact is one too many.”

The average rate of new coronavirus daily infections has fallen by 1,300 over the past three weeks, with the two week average at 2,096, 28% of the peak as reported on November 12.

A stay-at-home order is in force for the entire period through January 16. Exemptions are limited to work, shopping for essential goods, helping others, and exercise by oneself.

As of Saturday, all shops other than those offering essential goods such as grocery stores or apothecary shops will close as will personal service businesses such as barber shops and beauty parlors and cultural and entertainment institutions such as theaters and museums.

Schools, slated to reopen on January 7, 2021, will offer distance learning through January 15.

The government will offer mass tests on the weekend of January 16 and 17 and some shops and cultural institutions will likely reopen on January 18, but only for individuals who can show a recent negative coronavirus test result.

For those who do not get tested, the hard lockdown will remain in force until at least January 24.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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