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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.

Go deeper: Irish prime minister returns to medicine to help with coronavirus crisis

Go deeper

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.