Austria’s coronavirus lockdown is set to be extended until at least January 24th.
The news was confirmed by Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober on Monday morning.
The closure of non-essential shops as well as hospitality venues is set to be extended by one week until January 24th, along with the mandatory stay-at-home order for people in all of Austria’s states.
Anschober said at a press conference on Monday “this means that testing to get out of lockdown early will not be possible”.
According to Der Standard, face-to-face teaching in schools will also be delayed for a week.
In addition, the government will scrap the planned free testing scheme, which would have allowed anyone who tested negative to leave lockdown on the 18th of January.
August Wöginger, chairman of the Austrian People’s Party, the free testing scheme faced significant pressure from Austria’s opposition.
“The opposition has enclosed us in concrete,” said Wöginger.
“A national alliance would have been necessary, but if there is no majority in the Federal Council, the opening week from January 18 cannot go as planned,” said Wöginger.
When asked if the schools were also set to remain closed, he replied, “Yes, lockdown is lockdown.”
Austria’s opposition indicated it would not pass the free testing scheme for two months, forcing the government’s hand.