Austrian authorities have announced that some restrictions previously implemented in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have been tightened following a rise in the number of confirmed cases in the country. From Monday, September 14, face coverings will become mandatory in all public spaces including retail shops, schools, government buildings, and supermarkets, in addition to the mandatory wearing of face coverings on public transportation.
Under the tightening of restrictions events without seating areas will be limited to 100 people outdoors and 50 people indoors. Events with seating available will be permitted to hold up to 3000 people outdoors and 1500 indoors. The measures have been reimplemented following an increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide, specifically in Vienna.
As of Saturday, September 12, there have been 31,827 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 750 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.