“If we don’t react massively, then there is a great risk that the numbers will continue to rise or remain at a high level,” Kurz told reporters in Vienna. Austrian health officials are unable to trace 77% of new cases, he added.From Tuesday, the country of nearly 9 million people will impose a limited curfew, prohibiting people from leaving their homes except to go to work, stock up on essential supplies, exercise or help people. who need help. The partial lockdown is expected to last until December 6.
“My urgent call for the next four weeks is this: not to meet with anyone,” Kurz said. “Each social contact is one too many. ”
In addition to restaurants and leisure facilities, which have been closed for almost two weeks, the Austrian authorities are ordering the closure of hairdressers, sports facilities and libraries.
Health Minister Rudolf Anschober warned that many medical workers were near exhaustion, saying the new infection control measures were “the last chance to stop the collapse of hospitals”.
His words were echoed by doctors in neighboring Germany, who called on the government to provide greater financial guarantees to hospitals so that elective surgeries can be postponed and staff can focus on COVID patients. seriously ill.
A German doctors’ union and four medical associations said in a joint statement on Saturday that unless the pressure on staff is eased, “many intensive care units in particular will soon pass the breaking point.”
Germany recorded more than 141 new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants last week. Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet with senior officials on Monday to discuss the sufficiency of existing measures imposed for the month of November.
The restrictions were widely supported in Germany, but a vocal minority – backed by far-right extremists – have staged regular protests against public health rules and regulations such as the requirement to wear masks.
Police in downtown Frankfurt used water cannons on Saturday against participants in an anti-mask rally and counter-protesters.