Austria will offer coronavirus tests to its population of 8.8 million, and those who test negative will have “ more freedoms ” as the country prepares for a third lockdown.

On Friday, the government confirmed that the European country will enter a lockdown due to the Corona virus for the third time after Christmas, just 11 days after the end of the second lockdown in the country.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced on Friday that Austria’s lockdown will start between December 26 and January 24, as the country struggles to lower its infection rate.

But Curtis said those who participate in a planned series of group testing programs between January 15 and 17 will be allowed more freedom, such as visiting cultural events and restaurants.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz speaks at a press conference on Friday as he announced that Austria will enter a third lockdown from December 26th, but people who participate in a group testing program can enjoy more freedoms.

Curtis said hotels and cultural venues are expected to verify test results upon arrival, while police will conduct random checks in other areas.

Curtis said the measures were “the only possible way to reopen tourism, cultural life, restaurants and cafes during the pandemic while avoiding the numbers exploding again.”

During the first three weeks of closure, non-essential stores as well as services such as hairdressers will be closed as physical proximity cannot be avoided.

Movement outside the home will again be limited to purposes such as buying food or exercising.

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However, from January 18th, stores and restaurants will open again for those who test negative.

Schools will resume teaching face-to-face on the same date.

Those who do not participate in group exams will have to wear FFP 2 masks as a simpler face covering suffices, for example while working or buying food.

The rules about how outdoor sports – including skiing – are permitted will be left to local authorities to determine.

Since Austria emerged from the last lockdown earlier this month, the daily rate of new infections has mostly remained between 2,000 and 3,000 per day, but Kurtz said Friday the goal is to reduce new cases of infection for seven days to below 100 per 100,000. Population.

Pictured: A graph showing the average daily new coronavirus cases in Austria for seven days

Pictured: A graph showing the average daily new coronavirus cases in Austria for seven days

Pictured: A graph showing the average daily new coronavirus deaths in Austria for seven days

Pictured: A graph showing the average daily new coronavirus deaths in Austria for seven days

The government said the latest lockdown would be the first of three phases in fighting the pandemic.

The second phase will include weekly testing for professions including teachers and those serving customers in stores and restaurants, with care home workers testing twice a week.

The third stage is the comprehensive vaccination campaign, which is expected to start on December 27, in conjunction with the European Union countries.

Nevertheless, Curtis cautioned that the prognosis for the first few months of 2021 was “ very bleak, ” with things only returning to normal in the summer.

Austrian ski lifts are allowed to reopen on December 24th, although restaurants, hotels and bars will remain closed.

Ski season in Europe fell into disarray in March as resorts became sites of an early outbreak of the Coronavirus.

Many were forced into lockdown in Austria, France, Italy, Germany and other European countries before the full extent of the crisis became clear.

Europe on Thursday crossed a grim milestone of 500,000 deaths from Corona, becoming the first region in the world to do so.

Latin America and the Caribbean reported 477,404 deaths, the United States and Canada 321,287, Asia 208,149, the Middle East 85,895, and Africa 57,423.