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Austria powers down public life as fourth COVID-19 lockdown begins

Headlines 11:31 22 Nov, 2021

Austria powered down public life on Monday as its fourth national COVID-19 lockdown began

Austria powers down public life as fourth COVID-19 lockdown begins

Austria powered down public life on Monday as its fourth national COVID-19 lockdown began, making it the first western European country to reimpose the drastic and unpopular measure this autumn in the face of surging coronavirus infections, Qazet.az reports citing Reuters.

This lockdown is similar to previous ones but is the first introduced since vaccines became widely available. Most places people gather, like restaurants, cafes, bars, theatres, non-essential shops and hairdressers cannot open their doors for 10 days initially and maybe as many as 20, the government says.

Christmas markets, a big draw for tourists that had only just begun to open, must also shut but, in a last-minute change, ski lifts can remain open to the vaccinated. Hotels will, however, close to tourists not already staying there when the lockdown began.

"It is a situation where we have to react now," Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein told ORF TV on Sunday night.