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Austria starts tough lockdown to slow virus

By Staff | Nov 17, 2020

Locked tables of a coffee house are pictured in a pedestrian zone in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. The Austrian government has moved to restrict freedom of movement for people, in an effort to slow the onset of the COVID-19 disease and the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

VIENNA — Austria has started a new tough lockdown meant to slow the surging spread of the coronavirus in the Alpine nation.

As of Tuesday, people are only allowed to leave their homes to purchase groceries, to go to jobs deemed essential, to exercise or to help people who need assistance.

All restaurants, shops, hair salons and other services have been ordered closed, and the nation’s schools have been moved to remote learning programs.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Monday ahead of the lockdown, which is to run through Dec. 6, that “all of social and public life will be brought down to a minimum.”

Austria currently is registering more than 527 new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days — more than 10 times the rate that authorities say is sustainable. Over the last seven days it has reported 46,946 new coronavirus infections.

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