VIENNA, Austria

Austria said Tuesday curbs that began last month in the wake of coronavirus pandemic would be gradually lifted.

Health Minister Rudolf Anschober, in a joint press conference with interior and tourism ministers, said restrictions would be lifted next week but citizens would have to follow social distancing measures and keep 1 meter (3 feet) from others in public.

Anschober said citizens would not have to wear face masks outside but only in closed spaces.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said gatherings up to 10 people will be allowed starting in May and funerals will be allowed with no more than 30 attendees.

Tourism Minister Elizabeth Kostinger said hotels, zoos, pools and touristic places will open on May 29.

Restaurants and cafes will open as of May 15, but with new precautions, she added.

According to data collected by US-based Johns Hopkins University, the death toll from COVID-19 in Austria stands at 569 with 15,357 confirmed cases.

After first appearing in China last December, the COVID-19 virus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions.

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins shows worldwide infections surpassing 3 million with more than 212,000 deaths. More than 906,000 patients have recovered.

*Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak

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