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Austria to open faculties, retailers and ski slopes as nation eases Covid-19 lockdown for Christmas

Ski lifts will likely be allowed to function in Austria from Christmas Eve, and first faculties and retailers will reopen from Monday, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has introduced because the nation plans to chill out its coronavirus lockdown.

A ten-day quarantine is to be imposed on individuals getting into Austria from international locations the place there have been greater than 100 Covid-19 instances per 100,000 previously fortnight, successfully stopping skiers coming in from neighboring Italy and Germany.

Kurz mentioned on Wednesday that the brand new measures are designed to push an infection numbers down till December 23 to be able to permit the general public to satisfy with as much as 10 individuals from any variety of households between December 24-26 and on December 31.

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“The falling numbers are successful, however no cause to provide the all-clear,” Kurz mentioned, claiming that stress on the well being service had been relieved by restrictions up to now, however including that he anticipated a surge in instances over the festive interval. The chancellor’s announcement that snowboarding is reopening from December 24 is critical, given Austria’s 2,000 ski lifts which assist a winter sports activities business price €15 billion ($18 billion).

Among the many different coronavirus measures outlined by Kurz was the information that accommodations and eating places will stay closed till January 7, whereas curfews from 8pm to 6am will resume.

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The brand new much less extreme lockdown, which replaces the stricter measures of the final two weeks, permits two households to satisfy. Libraries, museums and private providers resembling hairdressers may even reopen.

“The pandemic shouldn’t be over, the virus is with us. The contagion charges are extraordinarily excessive,” Kurz mentioned.

“In perspective, we’ll return to regular in the summertime, however there are nonetheless six months till then,” he added, saying this might solely be doable with restrictions and mass testing in place.

Up to now 24 hours, Austria has reported an additional 3,972 Covid-19 instances whereas there have been 121 fatalities, in accordance with Well being Ministry information.

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