Vienna, other parts of Austria tighten coronavirus rules over Easter

Vienna and other eastern regions of Austria are heading back into a lockdown in the coming weeks in an attempt to keep coronavirus case counts from spiralling out of control.

The brunt of the shutdown will hit during the upcoming Easter holidays, with many businesses and other establishments set to shut down on April 1 and stay closed until April 6.

The closures will affects most businesses, as well as hairdressers and masseuses. Stores that sell essential items will be exempted.

Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said the shutdown was needed to stop numbers from rising and to give the region’s overworked hospitals a chance to catch a breather.

At the moment, the seven-day incidence per 100,000 residents in the region is above 300, compared to a nationwide average of 247.

Anschober said the agreement was only reached after a day of negotiations with the heads of the affected regions.

The rules also call for people to stay home, only leaving their houses during the holidays for walks, exercise and urgent needs.

Schools will head into a week of online lessons after the lockdown.

The agreement would also see sharpened rules for mask-wearing and tougher coronavirus testing requirements for commuters who travel from the eastern regions to work in other parts of the country.

On Monday, the federal government had decided not to tighten rules countrywide despite spiking numbers.


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