Austria will deny entry to people coming from Italy, Chancellor Kurz says

by Reuters
Tuesday, 10 March 2020 11:21 GMT

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VIENNA, March 10 (Reuters) - Austria will deny entry to people arriving from Italy and ban indoor events of more than 100 people, drastically stepping up measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Tuesday.

The announcement comes a day after Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the whole of his country was being placed under lockdown until next month, an unprecedented and unexpected new attempt to beat coronavirus in Europe's worst-affected country.

"The utmost priority is to prevent the spread and thus the importing of the illness into our society. There is therefore a ban on entry for people from Italy into Austria, with the exception of people who have a doctor's note (certifying they are healthy)," Kurz told a news conference.

Kurz and Interior Minister Karl Nehammer announced other measures, including a ban on indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events of more than 500 people. University lectures will stop on Monday at the latest and companies are being asked to let their staff work from home.

Austria had previously said it would introduce spot health checks at its border with Italy on Tuesday, targeting vehicles with Italian licence plates in particular. It also said last week it was banning direct flights to the Italian cities of Milan and Bologna, as well as to Iran and South Korea.

Austria has had 157 confirmed cases so far and no deaths, compared with more than 9,000 cases in Italy and 463 deaths. (Reporting by Francois Murphy and Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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