Snow cannon enlisted in Austria's fight against virus

An Austrian waste disposal company on Thursday started using one of the Alpine country's more unusual resources in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic—a snow cannon.

The DAKA company in the mountainous Tyrol region of the country is using a modified snow as part of a programme to help disinfect locations, including premises and .

The machines are more often seen at Austria's famous ski resorts, but the first place where the snow cannon was deployed on Thursday was the warehouse of a timber processing business in the town of Schwaz, DAKA project manager Matthias Zitterbart told AFP.

DAKA hopes to use the cannon and five smaller machines to efficiently spread disinfectant in locations where there is a danger of coronavirus infections such as old people's homes, or pharmacies.

"We have had lots of enquiries from businesses," Zitterbart said. "We hope to have more commissions next week."

According to Austrian government rules brought into fight the pandemic, any business that receives customers has to be regularly disinfected.

Austria has so far been spared the worst of the virus and this week the government eased the lockdown put in place last month, re-opening parks and allowing small shops to re-open along with hardware and gardening stores.

Tyrol has been the worst-hit region in Austria by the pandemic, with more than 3,300 confirmed cases, from more than 14,400 for the country as a whole.

The number of confirmed deaths nationwide stands at 410, while almost 9,000 have recovered after contracting the virus.

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© 2020 AFP

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