VIENNA, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Austria exceeded 6,000 on Thursday with 42 deaths reported, according to local health authorities.
A total of 6,001 people have tested positive in the Alpine country, an increase of 13.6 percent compared with the previous day, said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober at a press conference on Thursday morning, emphasizing that the goal is to get into single-digit range.
Among the confirmed cases, 87 percent have mild symptoms, 547 people are hospitalized, 96 patients need an intensive care, according to the Health Ministry.
As for protective measures in the hospitals, Anschober had some good news to announce. "Today, large quantities of protective clothing and disinfectants are to be delivered to Austria," said the minister.
He also announced that 11 million gloves are expected on Friday, with further deliveries of masks and protective suits coming in the next few days.
The government is very aggressive on the world market to procure protective materials, "but it is a struggle for every order," said Anschober.
With regard to bed capacity, the minister said that Austria is well positioned and there is plenty of scope for the next 10 days. The capacities in precautionary special clinics for people with mild symptoms are being expanded, said the minister, adding the current 12,000 beds could be increased to 20,000.
Longer-term forecasts, for example in mid-April, are statistically difficult because the data set is still too unreliable, said the minister. "We are still at the beginning of the development. It simply depends on how the number of diseases develops."
Last Friday, the government announced that the exit restrictions in the country should be extended until April 13. "This is a marathon," said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, appealing to the public to "hold on".
The Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) on Thursday published a report assessing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on economy based on an "optimistic" scenario.
"In the event of the restrictions remaining in force until end-April, being gradually relaxed during May and the situation returning to normal in summer, Austria's economy is expected to contract by 2.5 percent in 2020," according to the report.