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Austria Bans Public Gatherings of More Than Five People

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 3/15/2020 Boris Groendahl
a sign on the side of a building: VIENNA, AUSTRIA - MARCH 15: Closed restaurant as the coronavirus affects everyday life in Austria at District Meidling on March 15, 2020 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Johann Schwarz/SEPA.Media /Getty Images) © Photographer: Johann Schwarz/Getty Images Europe VIENNA, AUSTRIA - MARCH 15: Closed restaurant as the coronavirus affects everyday life in Austria at District Meidling on March 15, 2020 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Johann Schwarz/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

(Bloomberg) --

Austria tightened restrictions on public life further on Sunday, banning public gatherings of more than five people, closing restaurants from Tuesday and calling on people to self-isolate as coronavirus cases in the country continued to climb.

“I call on all Austrians to isolate themselves,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Twitter. “We’re aware those are massive restrictions but they are necessary to defend the health of the Austrian people and starve out COVID-19.”

Kurz said people should leave their home only to get to work, get food or other necessities, or help other people. Police will start to enforce the ban today and close playgrounds, sport facilities and other venues, he said in a statement.

Austria is also denying entry to travelers from the U.K., the Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine, expanding measures in place for Italy and Switzerland.

The measures go well beyond what the government announced Friday as the number of confirmed cases jumped to 800 on Sunday, from 602 on Saturday. Austria’s parliament is meeting in Vienna to approve laws needed to deal with the spread of the virus, including a 4 billion-euro ($4.4 billion) financial package.

To contact the reporter on this story: Boris Groendahl in Vienna at bgroendahl@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Iain Rogers, Sara Marley

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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