VIENNA: Austria on Saturday ordered a three-week lockdown in a last-ditch effort to bring surging coronavirus cases under control and relieve the stress on the health service in time for retailers to reopen in the run-up to Christmas.
The country had so far used a lighter touch in dealing with the second wave of cases than it did with the first outbreak, which it brought under control with a lockdown in the spring.
A nighttime curfew is in place from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. this month but shops are open; cafes, bars and restaurants are limited to take-away service; theatres and museums are closed.
Those measures have failed to stop infections from accelerating and Austria now has one of Europe’s highest infection rates. Daily new cases hit a record of 9,586 on Friday, nine times higher than at the peak of the first wave.
The conservative-led government had called a lockdown a last resort, but…