Austria's health minister said on Tuesday that the country's coronavirus pandemic was under control, three weeks after starting to ease a strict blockade.
"The situation is very constant, very stable," said Rudolf Anschober, adding that the daily increase in new infections has decreased to 0.2%, down from 50% in mid-March.
Small shops and hardware and gardening stores reopened in mid-April, after a month-long blockade, wearing masks in stores and public transport and practicing social detachment.
Larger stores followed suit this weekend, and restrictions that largely prohibit people from leaving their homes have been lifted. School classes are resuming this month and restaurants are expected to reopen in mid-May.
Anschober said the first phase of lifting the blockade was "excellent", but he reminded people to remain vigilant despite more flexible measures.
The alpine nation of nearly nine million people has been spared the impact of the health crisis, reporting almost 15,600 cases and 606 deaths to date. More than 13,400 people have recovered.
Tests conducted under a study by Statistik Austria, April 21-24, showed that only about 0.15% of the population was infected. 1,432 people over the age of 16 were tested.
A similar study, carried out in the first week of April by the SORA group, showed that about 0.33% were infected.
Another study by Statistik Austria, also published Monday, in communities with a large number of infections showed that 4.71% of the 540 people tested had new antibodies against the coronavirus.