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Austria To Go Into Third Lockdown After Christmas, Media Report

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VIENNA: Austria will go into a third coronavirus lockdown after Christmas that will last until Jan. 18, several Austrian media outlets including national news agency APA reported on Friday.

The government is holding a video conference on Friday afternoon with the governors of Austria’s nine provinces on possible further coronavirus

restrictions. Austrian media produced near-simultaneous reports citing sources close to the negotiations on the measures that will be announced afterwards.

The country ended its second coronavirus lockdown last week. It reduced the number of daily infections to less than 3,000 from a peak above 9,000, but that level is still higher than the government would like, and larger gatherings of up to 10 people from 10 households are allowed over Christmas.

A fresh lockdown would mean closing non-essential shops that have now reopened and switching from the current night curfew to being required to stay at home all day where possible, with exceptions like shopping for essentials and exercise.

It could also mean delaying the reopening of ski resorts, which is scheduled for Dec. 24, but hotels and restaurants have already been ordered to stay closed over the holiday period.

After “mass tests” of the population for the coronavirus drew only a small fraction of the public this month, a new round of mass testing will be held on the weekend of Jan. 16-17, with those who test negative being allowed to come out of lockdown on the 18th, when shops and restaurants will reopen, APA reported.

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