Apr 6, 2020 - World

Austria plans to begin loosening its coronavirus lockdown

Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Monday that his country plans to take steps to begin lifting its coronavirus lockdown next week, Reuters reports.

The state of play: Kurz said the country would begin reopening non-essential shops of less than 400 square meters on April 14, followed by all shops and malls on May 1.

  • Schools will stay closed until mid-May with public events banned until June, notes MarketWatch.
  • Kurz also said that the government "always has the possibility to hit the emergency brake" should the rate of infections spike as restrictions wind down.

The big picture: Austria has more than 12,000 cases and at least 220 deaths from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. At least 3,463 people have recovered from the disease.

  • The country, which borders Italy, was one of the first in Europe to institute a wide national lockdown on March 16. Kurz's government has also taken steps like making the use of face masks in stores mandatory, per the BBC.

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