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Austria extends confinement measures until April 13

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz addresses a press conference on March 20, 2020 at the Chancellery in Vienna, to comment on the government’s measures to fight the novel coronavirus. – Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said his country would extend strict measures put in place to stem the coronavirus pandemic until April 13, 2020. Austria ordered schools and restaurants shut from Monday and is allowing people to only leave home in very limited circumstances, such as working — if it is not possible to work from home — buying food or helping others. (Photo by HELMUT FOHRINGER / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Friday his country would extend strict measures put in place to stem the coronavirus pandemic until April 13.

Austria has ordered schools and restaurants shut and since Monday is allowing people to only leave home in very limited circumstances, such as working — if it is not possible to work from home — buying food or helping others.

“The measures will be extended until April 13,” Kurz told reporters, appealing to the population to “hang on” and admitting that this required a “lot of sacrifices”.

“We will continuously evaluate if from April 14 we can lift the measures step by step to get back to business as usual,” he added.

On Friday, the Alpine nation of almost nine million people said it had recorded more than 2,200 cases of the novel coronavirus and six deaths.

The daily increase of new cases has slowed slightly and now stands at 20 percent, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said, adding this was still “insufficient”.

Authorities continue to appeal to citizens to abide by the strict measures.

Some 1,200 infringements have been committed this week, said Interior Minister Karl Nehammer.

Those who don’t comply with the measures face fines up to 3,600 euros ($3,900).

Austria has also passed strict travel restrictions, leading to flight and railway transport cancellations from Italy and other countries hit by the virus.

It further said Thursday it was placing all arrivals by air in mandatory 14-day home quarantine. Only transit passengers, medical professionals and staff from international organisations are exempt.

The western province of Tyrol was also placed under lockdown this week, in addition to several communes in two other western provinces after multiple cases in the region bordering Italy.

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