Covid Forever: Austria Already Set to Bring Back Mask Mandate

A sign standing at Stephansplatz square in Vienna, Austria, indicates that wearing FFP2 fa

Just two weeks after lifting indoor mask mandates, the Austrian government is set to reintroduce the mandates this week after a surge in Chinese coronavirus cases.

Austrian Health Minister Johannes Rauch has announced that mandatory indoor mask-wearing will resume across Austria starting on Wednesday and that FFP2 medical-grade masks will be required.

“In the past few days, experts have corrected the forecasts for the course of the omicron wave. In many hospitals, retirement and nursing homes, the staffing situation is tense. We have to take action,” Rauch said on Twitter.

While the mask mandate was lifted for most indoor activities, it remained in place in certain areas, such as supermarkets, banks, pharmacies and public transport and in the Austrian capital of Vienna, which maintained the mask mandate after March 5th, Kronen Zeitung reports.

According to a report from the website Politico, Health Minister Rauch admitted that easing Wuhan virus restrictions may have come too early as cases have increased over the last two weeks with over 64,000 new cases recorded on March 17th, alone, the highest number of daily cases of the entire pandemic, according to statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The number of deaths attributed to the virus, however, has remained lower than levels seen in late November and early December of 2020, according to the WHO.

The Austrian government announced earlier this month that it would be dropping the controversial mandatory vaccination policy which could have seen members of the public fined or being sent to prison for not being vaccinated.

While the mandatory vaccination policy has been halted, it could, like mask mandates, be implemented in the future according to both Health Minister Rauch and Constitutional Minister Karoline Edtstadler.

Coronavirus vaccination still remains a priority of the government and a new campaign called “Vaccinated Together” was launched this week by the federal government to encourage more residents to take the jab.

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


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