Austria will go right into a nationwide lockdown on Monday and impose a coronavirus vaccination mandate in February, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg stated on Friday. It is the primary such lockdown in a European nation for the reason that spring, and the primary nationwide vaccine mandate on the continent.
“Nobody wants a lockdown — the lockdown is the very last resort, a crude instrument,” Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein stated. “A lockdown is always an imposition, but it is the most reliable instrument we have to break this fourth wave.”
The measures, paying homage to people who European nations put in place earlier than Covid vaccines have been obtainable, observe different current restrictions which have carried out little to decrease the speed of an infection.
In an indication of hovering fear over the newest outbreak, Austria simply days in the past went a step additional than most nations by saying a lockdown on unvaccinated folks. Requiring folks to be vaccinated in opposition to Covid beginning on Feb. 1 broke new floor once more.
“For a long time, the political consensus has been that we do not want compulsory vaccinations in this country,” Mr. Schallenberg stated when saying the brand new measures. “But we have to face reality.”
Austria has one in all Europe’s highest nationwide an infection charges — with 14,212 new coronavirus circumstances registered in 24 hours on Thursday — and one of many lowest vaccination charges in Western Europe. Just 66 p.c of the nation’s inhabitants is totally inoculated.
Under the brand new lockdown, most facets of public life will likely be suspended for a minimum of 10 days. The measure will have an effect on each vaccinated and unvaccinated folks.
People will likely be allowed to go away their houses just for very important functions corresponding to searching for groceries, going to work or getting a fundamental stage of train. Only supermarkets and shops promoting necessities will likely be allowed to stay open.
The lockdown for unvaccinated folks will stay in place after the total lockdown expires, Mr. Schallenberg stated.