Austria took “very serious measures”, namely the closure of schools, restaurants and shops as well as exit restrictions. These measures would now remain in force until April 13.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a video interview with the German newspaper Bild that a phone call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “shocked” him out his relative complacency regarding the coronavirus crisis in Europe.
“You underestimate that in Europe, wake up and do something,” Netanyahu told the Austrian leader. Even after talking to Asian heads of government, this became clear to him, Kurz said.
Last week, Austria took “very serious measures”, namely the closure of schools, restaurants and shops as well as exit restrictions. These measures would now remain in force until April 13.
Kurz appealed in the interview for the population to “hang on” and acknowledged that this required a “lot of sacrifices.”
“We will continuously evaluate if from April 14 we can lift the measures step by step to get back to business as usual,” he added.
Kurz and Netanyahu have warm relations, and the Austrian chancellor was the first world leader to congratulate Netanyahu after March 2’s elections for ostensibly winning.
As of Friday, Austria, the Alpine nation of almost nine million people, which is a neighboring country of Italy, the hardest hit country in Europe by the Covid-19 crisis, said it had recorded more than 2,200 cases of the novel coronavirus and six deaths.
Israeli coronavirus cases jump to 945, country records first COVID-19 death
Israel’s Health Ministry said on Sunday that the number of Israelis diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus has risen to 945, 20 of whom are in serious condition.
According to the ministry, the majority of cases (863) are mild, 24 are moderate and 37 people have recovered. Over the weekend, 88-year-old Holocaust survivor Aryeh Even of Jerusalem became the country’s first recorded COVID-19 fatality.
The ministry noted that 814 doctors and 900 nurses are currently in quarantine and that 42 medical personnel have tested positive for the virus. Over 60,000 Israelis are currently under home quarantine.
Many Israelis continued to flout restrictions on leaving their homes. As a result, the cabinet on Saturday night updated the emergency regulations currently in place. The new restrictions, which came into effect on Sunday at 8 a.m., will be in place for the next seven days and will be enforced by the Israel Police, who can impose hefty fines on violators.
According to the new directives, Israelis must remain at home unless they need to buy essential food and medical supplies or seek medical treatment. Other exceptions include attending demonstrations, aiding the elderly or sick, donating blood, attending court hearings, seeking aid from welfare services, going to the Knesset, attending religious services, including weddings and funerals (at which no more than 10 people can be present) or visiting a ritual bath (mikveh).
Israelis are also permitted to exercise outdoors, in groups no larger than two, and to take short walks in the vicinity of their homes. The ban also restricts the number of people allowed in a single car to two, unless they’re members of the same household. This restriction does not apply to “essential” errands, carpools of essential workers to and from work, or delivery services.