Austria: Kurz blames ‘British virus’ for lockdown extension

Austria: Kurz blames 'British virus' for lockdown extension
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has held the “British virus” - the mutation of the coronavirus first detected in the UK - responsible for Austria’s extended coronavirus lockdown.

Kurz said from the Chancellery on Sunday when announcing a two-week extension to Austria’s lockdown that “all plans had to be thrown overboard” due to the arrival of the “significantly more contagious” mutation. 

The mutation of the virus, which was first detected in the UK in 2020, is said to be between 40 and 70 percent more infectious than known variants. 

READ MORE: Austria extends coronavirus lockdown until February 7th 

Austria on Sunday decided to extend its coronavirus lockdown until February 7th, while some measures were tightened.

The lockdown was set to end on January 25th, but is now extended a further two weeks. The minimum distance has been extended from one to two metres, while FFP2 masks are now required in public transport and retail.

Kurz said the goal of the lockdown extension was to reduce the daily infection rate to under 700, although he expressed scepticism about whether that was possible. 

“We don’t know if this (reducing to 700) is even feasible,” Kurz said. 

 


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