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9 Apr, 2020 12:00

Our Covid-19 numbers are best in Western Europe, don't ruin it: Austrian chancellor asks people to stay home for Easter

Our Covid-19 numbers are best in Western Europe, don't ruin it: Austrian chancellor asks people to stay home for Easter

Austria is weathering the coronavirus pandemic better than many but that's not an excuse to break self-isolation for Easter celebrations, despite traditions and good weather, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has warned.

“We are a country in West Europe that has the best trend in [Covid-19] numbers. This is thanks to the self-isolation measures, further steps and participation of the population,” Kurz said in a statement.

But Austrians should keep in mind that “the virus is still among us” and plan how they celebrate Easter accordingly. He asked people to refrain from customary family reunions for the celebration and not be tempted by good weather into unnecessary walks or to mingle outdoors. Sticking to the rules will save lives, he stressed.

“After Easter, we can gradually return to normal,” he promised. “But that will only be possible if we do in the next few days what we have done so impressively over the past three weeks.”

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Austria plans to lift some of the restrictions it imposed to curb the spread of the killer virus, the government announced earlier this week. Schools and nonessential small shops will be allowed to open next Monday while other businesses will follow in May. Austria was the first European nation to give a timeline for lifting the lockdown, with Denmark following the lead.

Kurz currently enjoys a 77 percent approval rating, with his People's Party getting the support of 45 percent of the public.

Also on rt.com Head of EU's top science body quits after Covid-19 response plans get bogged down by Brussels bureaucracy

Vienna started imposing restrictions on public gatherings and other preventive measures as early as March 10 and drew ire from some fellow EU members by imposing border checks at a time when such a measure was seen as insensitive.

The country has almost 13,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with the death toll surpassing 270.

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