Austrian chancellor expects tighter COVID rules to remain past Christmas -newspaper

Austrian Chancellor Schallenberg attends news conference, in Vienna

ZURICH (Reuters) - Austria's latest measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus will likely stay in force over Christmas and New Year, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg was quoted as saying on Sunday, as the country posted a record number of infections.

The country reported 9,943 new infections within a 24 hour period on Saturday, surpassing the previous worst day of Nov. 13 2020 when 9,586 cases were recorded.

To stem the virus, the government said on Friday that it will bar those not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from cafes, restaurants and hairdressers, effective Monday.

The '2G' rule, which requires proof of full vaccination or recovery, will also be in place for hotel and cinema visits or events for more than 25 people.

2G takes its name from the German words for immunised and recovered. In workplaces a 3G rule has applied since Nov. 1 which means that employees must be vaccinated, recovered or tested (geimpft, genesen, getestet).

"I am not assuming that in six weeks the situation will be such that we can take the measures back. So it will probably be a 2G Christmas," Schallenberg told Kronen Zeitung in an article published on Sunday.

"Most likely we will still have 2G for Christmas and New Year's Eve," Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler told the newspaper.

New infections on Sunday declined slightly to 8,554 according to data from the Interior Ministry. Austria, which has a population of 8.9 million people, has reported 883,887 COVID-19 cases and 11,502 deaths since the pandemic broke out last year.

(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)