Coronavirus: Austria Bans Public Meetings of Five or More People

A picture taken on March 16, 2020 shows a view of Stephan square in the center of Vienna,

The Austrian government has introduced new restrictive measures to stop the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, including banning meetings of five or more people.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced the measures which also included the mobilisation of young people who have completed Austria’s community service programme within the last five years.

Freedom of assembly within the country has also been drastically curtailed, with public areas such as sports fields and playgrounds being closed along with other public venues.

According to a report by newspaper Münchner Merkur, those violating the new restrictions could face fines of up to €3,600.

Private businesses such as restaurants and bars are also facing restrictions and were ordered to close Monday.

While the government has imposed restrictions, Austrians will still be allowed to go outside of their homes for walks and for stocking up on food and needed supplies but will be expected to go either on their own or with a small number of their immediate household.

Air travel has also been impacted by the new policies and all flights from areas highly infected by the coronavirus have been stopped. On Monday, Austrian Airlines announced that it would be halting flights starting on Thursday and ending on March 28th.

Chancellor Kurz has also called on Austrians abroad to make plans to return to Austria as soon as they are able.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has increased dramatically in recent days from 758 cases on Sunday to over 1,000 cases as of Monday.

While the country has closed its land border to Italy and Switzerland, the border to Germany remains unaffected, although Germany itself has imposed border restrictions on those entering the country.

Germany has also seen a rise in cases in recent days, with 1,000 new cases being confirmed within just 24 hours.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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