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860 Coronavirus cases reported in Austria; more restrictions imposed

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

By Hector Pascua

VIENNA -- More restrictive measures were announced by the Austrian government in the special session of the National Assembly to curb the spread of Covid-19 as cases rose to 860 on Sunday, March 15.

Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz laid down in the session further severe restrictions on public life. Among the measures mentioned were the ban on public events, restrictions on freedom of movement in public spaces and closure of sports grounds, playgrounds and other public places of encounter.

It was also said that the militia of the Austrian Federal Army will be mobilized as young men who did alternative social service (Zivildienst) in the last five years will be called into service while the period of those currently serving will be prolonged.

The government also urged the people to isolate themselves and maintain contact with only those who they share residence with.

The chancellor reiterated that there are only three legitimate reasons to leave the house and these are: professional reason to do work that cannot be deferred; buy urgently-needed supplies; and help other people who need assistance.

Restaurants will also be ordered closed from Tuesday, March 17 instead of previously being allowed to open until 3 PM.

Food supply is to be guaranteed by supermarkets and delivery services.

Meanwhile, entry regulations to the country will be further tightened. Travelers from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Russia, and Ukraine will no longer be allowed to enter Austria, with the exception of those who were in home quarantine for two weeks or who have a current health certificate.

There will be no imminent withdrawal of basic military personnel and readiness of some units of the military is assured.

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