Austrian authorities announced on Saturday, October 31, that a nighttime curfew between the hours of 20:00 to 06:00 (local time) will be in place as of Tuesday, November 3, until the end of the month, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease. Additionally, the closure of cafes, bars, and restaurants was announced. The new restrictions come amid Austrian health authorities reporting the highest daily number of cases on Friday, with 5627 being reported. Factories, shops, kindergartens, and primary schools will remain open, however, while secondary schools and universities will switch to distance learning. Exercise or walks will still be allowed during the curfew.
Measures limiting gatherings to a maximum of six people indoors and 12 people outdoors remain in effect. The rule of six will apply nationwide at all establishments, including at restaurants, weddings, family gatherings; an exception will be made for private funerals. Face coverings are also mandatory in all public spaces including retail shops, schools, government buildings, and supermarkets, as well as on public transportation.
As of October 31, there have been 104,925 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1109 associated fatalities in Austria. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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