Austrians required to wear FFP2 masks in transport, shops over new SARS-CoV-2 variants
Vienna/Sputnik: Austria is making FFP2 face masks, which filter over 90 percent of airborne particles, mandatory on public transport and in shops in a bid to curb the spread of the new coronavirus variants, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, the Austrian cabinet extended the third strict lockdown until February 7.
Citing "a high transmission threat of the new mutations originated from the United Kingdom and South Africa," Kurz unveiled a toughening of coronavirus restrictions.
"Starting January 25, FFP2 masks will be mandatory in spheres like public transport and trade," he said.
In addition, Austrians will have to keep a minimum social distance of two meters, up from the current one meter. The chancellor also reaffirmed calls for employees to switch staff to remote work.
Since December 26, the country has been on a third strict lockdown, which was set to last until January 24. The lockdown prescribes closure of everything except grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and service providers without close contact with a client. Restrictions on leaving home without a valid reason are in effect around the clock.
Public fatigue from tough quarantine measures, meanwhile, continues to grow. On Saturday, some 10,000 people took part in an anti-lockdown protest in Vienna.