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    Austria makes face masks in shops mandatory again

    Credit: Belga

    As the number of coronavirus infections in Austria continues to rise, the government has decided to reverse some of the relaxations of the measures it implemented.

    From Friday, wearing a face mask in shops, banks and post offices will become compulsory again. If one person in a religious community has contacts with high-risk areas abroad, every person in the community also has to wear a mask.

    After one positive coronavirus test, places of worship have to close, announced Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at a press conference.

    The re-introduction of mask use was aimed at protection people in general, he said, “and also because we know the mask has a symbolic effect: the less visible they are on a daily basis, the greater the lack of concern,” Kurz said.

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    Border controls with Hungary and Slovenia are also being strengthened again, as many new infections can be linked to people returning from the Western Balkans, Kurz said. Checks are being tightened for travellers from those countries.

    Additionally, travellers from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia will only be admitted after a negative coronavirus test in an accredited lab.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times