Austria announces strict lockdown as virus cases soar

Austria announces strict lockdown as virus cases soar

Schools to close and social contact barred in one of Europe’s toughest sets of new restrictions

Austria’s government has ordered one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe, with chancellor Sebastian Kurz telling the public to “meet nobody” as the country battles a surge in coronavirus infections.

“One contact is one contact too many,” Mr Kurz said on Saturday, as he unveiled a raft of restrictive measures that will put much of public and economic life in the alpine country on hold. 

An “around-the-clock” curfew will apply from Tuesday, with people only allowed to leave their homes to buy groceries, travel to essential work or provide urgent care. 

Austria’s second lockdown will be stricter than others in Europe, such as that recently imposed in France, because schools will also close. 

Only supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and post offices will be allowed to stay open. 

Working from home will be mandatory, except for those who provide essential services. 

On Friday, Austrian public health authorities reported 9,586 new coronavirus infections.