Austria reintroduces face masks as coronavirus cases rise – POLITICO

Austrians will again have to wear FFP2 masks indoors as COVID-19 cases rise again, the country’s Health Minister Johannes Rauch has said noted.

“I don’t like doing that,” Rauch said at a press conference on Friday evening, adding that the new rule will apply from Wednesday and the isolation rules will also be revised. He noted details on the restrictions under review will come “over the weekend”.

Rauch acknowledged that the easing of restrictions came too soon. Austria is the first EU country to reintroduce tougher restrictions in the current wave.

The number of COVID-19 cases has increased in the country over the past two weeks.

“A decline in the current figures is not expected for the next few weeks,” the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health said in a statement, adding that “the tense situation will therefore last much longer than expected.”

Austria had lifted restrictions on March 5, making FFP2 masks compulsory only in hospitals, public transport and essential shops. Rauch said he regretted confusing people with a “back and forth” implementation of the measures.

Germany decided on Friday to lift most COVID-19 restrictions despite high infection rates, and Italy is considering a gradual easing of measures in the coming weeks.


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