Austria would require consumers to put on primary face masks in supermarkets in a bid to gradual the still-too-rapid unfold of the coronavirus, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz mentioned on Monday.
Austria has closed colleges, eating places, bars, theatres and different gathering locations, together with non-essential retailers. Folks have been instructed to remain at house and work from there if doable.
The nation has reported 108 deaths and greater than 9,000 instances, fewer than its neighbours Italy and Switzerland and inside its well being system’s capability thus far, however Kurz instructed a information convention its intensive care capability might be exceeded by mid-April.
“Many can not think about what’s heading our approach inside weeks, however the reality is that that is the calm earlier than the storm. And to inform how horrific that storm will be, you possibly can have a look at our neighbour Italy,” Kurz mentioned, referring to hospitals unable to deal with the variety of sick individuals, and lots of of useless every day.
The speed of an infection stays “far too excessive”, Kurz mentioned, including that lower than medical-grade masks can be distributed this week, in all probability from Wednesday onward.
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“As of the second, these masks are handed out in entrance of supermarkets [and] it will likely be obligatory to put on them in supermarkets,” Kurz mentioned, including that the intention within the medium-term was for individuals to put on them in public extra typically as properly.
Whereas the masks wouldn’t shield wearers towards an infection, they’d cease wearers from sneezing or coughing on others and probably infecting them, he added.
The World Well being Group has, nonetheless, been sceptical about such measures.
“There isn’t any particular proof to recommend that the sporting of masks by the mass inhabitants has any specific profit,” Dr Mike Ryan, the WHO’s prime emergencies professional, instructed a information convention in a while Monday, whereas including that he was not conscious of Austria’s measure particularly.
“In reality, there may be some proof to recommend the alternative – within the misuse or [not] sporting a masks correctly or becoming it correctly or taking it off and all the opposite dangers which might be in any other case related to that,” Ryan mentioned.
Austria can be finishing up exams on a consultant pattern of two,000 individuals to get a clearer understanding of how a lot of the inhabitants has been uncovered to the virus, Kurz mentioned, including that Austria was one of many first international locations in Europe to take action. The outcomes shall be accessible on the finish of the week.
Reuters information company