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Austria to make basic face masks compulsory in supermarkets

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | March 30, 2020
Austria will require shoppers to wear basic face masks in supermarkets in a bid to slow the still too-rapid spread of the coronavirus, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Monday.
Sebastian Kurz
Chancellor   Sebastian Kurz
Austria has closed schools, restaurants, bars, cultural venues and other gathering places, including non-essential shops. People have been told to stay at home and work from there if possible.

Topics: Austria

The country has reported 108 deaths and more than 9,000 cases so far, fewer than its neighbors Italy and Switzerland and within its health system’s capacity for now, but Kurz said its intensive care capacity could be exceeded by mid-April.

“As of the moment these masks are handed out in front of supermarkets it will be compulsory to wear them in supermarkets,” Kurz said, adding that the aim in the medium-term was for people to wear them in public more generally as well.

The so-called MNS masks are below medical grade and aimed at preventing the wearer from spreading it to others by coughing or sneezing, he said, adding: “Currently the infections are far too high.”