The coronavirus outbreak in Austria in “under control,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Sunday, crediting the positive development as a result of the government’s early implementation of strict containment measures.
“We were one of the first countries in Europe which decided to have a complete lockdown, and I think it was extremely important that we were faster than others and our reaction was tougher than in other countries,” Kurz told CNN. “It was good that we did it because now the situation in Austria is under control. We only have about 100 new infections every day,” he added.
According to the Austrian leader, the number of new in-country coronavirus cases continues to go down, prompting the government to look towards a gradual relaxation of the nationwide lockdown.
“What we are trying is to re-open very slowly and very carefully. We are doing this step-by-step, always with two weeks in between,” Kurz said. “It is important that we always have two weeks in between, which gives us the opportunity to watch the numbers very carefully and slow down our re-opening plan and, if necessary, pull the emergency brake.”
Kurz outlined that the government expects to allow small shops to open on Monday, extending to all shops by May 1; by mid-May, the government will look to extend this measure further to include restaurants, he added.
“Of course, we will still have restrictions like social distancing…people in shops and also, in the future, people in restaurants and elsewhere will have to wear masks,” Kurz said.