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Coronavirus cases in Austria still rising but figures 'hopeful': minister

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Health Minister Rudolf Anschober addresses the media in Vienna

VIENNA (Reuters) – The number of new coronavirus infections in Austria rose on Sunday to 11,897, but the Alpine country reported more newly recovered than newly diagnosed patients and a declining number of people in intensive care.

On Sunday morning the number of new cases had risen by 270 since Saturday morning, while the number of recoveries rose by 491, according to the health ministry. It said the daily rate of new COVID-19 infections has fallen significantly in recent days.

“These are some hopeful figures, but now…we must remain consistent and not give up…Hence my appeal: No private Easter celebrations and Easter holidays,” said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober.

Some 204 people have died of the global pandemic in Austria.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has indicated he will present a rough road map on Monday regarding when, in which order and under what conditions the restrictions on public life that have been in place since March 16 could be eased.

“If we all remain disciplined during Easter week, I am confident that we will be able to gradually and cautiously return to normality after Easter,” Kurz told the daily Kleine Zeitung in an interview published late on Saturday.

Austria has closed nearly all shops, its schools, universities, theaters and museums and has urged people to work from home and only go out if necessary. Starting Monday, the use of face masks in grocery stores will be obligatory.

Kurz has already said he wants masks to also be worn in public and to broaden testing for infections. He has urged people to use a tracking app developed by the Red Cross that helps to trace people who had contact with infected persons.

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