Austria will begin reopening

Austria will lift some of its Wuhan coronavirus related restrictions next week. It will begin by reopening non-essential shops of less than 400 square meters on April 14, and then all shops and malls on May 1. Strict rules about masks, social distancing, and the number of people allowed into a store at any one time will remain in place.

Schools will remain closed until mid-May. Public events are banned until the beginning of June. All of these decisions are subject to change, depending on conditions.

Austria’s prime minister said that his early response to pandemic has enabled the country to begin reopening. Austria instituted its national lockdown on March 16. It was, I believe, one of the first European nations to do so, but not by all that much.

Austria has around 13,000 reported cases of the virus and is adding to that total by about 250 per day. Fewer than 300 Austrians are reported to have died from the virus. Yesterday’s total was 30.

The country’s logarithmic curve of total cases flattened around the beginning of April, but has not yet moved downwards. The number of currently infected people in Austria is declining, though. It peaked at around 9,300 on April 3. As of yesterday, April 6, the number was 8,300.

The fact that recoveries are now outpacing new cases appears to be the key factor in Austria’s decision. Absent a new wave of cases, the country need not fear that its hospitals will be overwhelmed.

In the U.S. our number of active cases (the currently infected) continues to soar.

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