Austria leader says country seeing 2nd wave of COVID-19

BERLIN (AP) — Austria’s leader said his country is seeing the start of a “second wave” of coronavirus infections. He is appealing to his compatriots to comply with newly reinforced rules to keep down infections.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced on Friday that the government would reimpose measures such as an obligation to wear masks in shops to curb a rise in new infections. Austria recorded 859 new infections on Friday, the highest daily figure since late March.

Kurz stepped up his rhetoric yesterday. He told the Austria Press Agency in a written statement that “what we are experiencing at the moment is the beginning of a second wave.” He added that developments in the capital, Vienna, are “particularly dramatic”, with the city accounting for around half of new cases.

Kurz said that Austria will soon hit the 1,000 per day mark. He called on Austrians to reduce social contacts, wear masks and keep their distance “as well as possible”.

He predicted “a tough autumn and winter”, though he stuck to his assessment that things should be largely normal by next summer.