Coronavirus: Austria locks down as new wave grips Europe

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionVienna imposed a partial lockdown at the start of November, including an overnight curfew

Austria is moving from a night curfew and partial shutdown to a second national lockdown that will be in place for at least two and a half weeks.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has urged Austrians not to meet anyone from outside their household in an attempt to curb a rapid rise in Covid cases.

He said schools would close and students would learn from home when new measures come into force on Tuesday.

Austria reported a record number of 9,586 new daily infections on Friday.

That figure was nine times higher than at the peak of the initial wave earlier this year. The country has recorded more than 191,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, and 1,661 Covid-related deaths.

The new lockdown measures, which will see all non-essential shops and services – including hairdressers – close, will remain in place until 6 December. People have been told to work at home wherever possible.

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Austria's Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said it was the last chance to stop the health service from collapsing under the pressure of new infections.

He said Austrians had already done it once and they could do it again.

Austria had its first nationwide lockdown in March, during the first wave of the pandemic.

Amid rising numbers, the capital Vienna had already imposed a partial lockdown, including a curfew from 20:00 to 06:00, at the start of November.

Countries across Europe are experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, with some – such as Sweden – warning that it is too early to plan for Christmas travel.