Two million affected: Austria imposes lockdown for unvaccinated people

Two million affected
Austria imposes lockdown for unvaccinated people

There has been talk of this for days, now it’s getting serious: Unvaccinated people in Austria are only allowed to leave their homes for urgent reasons. One goal seems to have already been achieved – the willingness to vaccinate is growing significantly.

In Austria, a nationwide lockdown will apply from Monday for people who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus or are considered to have recovered. “The corona situation in Austria is serious,” said Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg on Sunday after a video conference with top representatives from the federal states. The government is “not taking this step lightly, but unfortunately it is necessary”.

The lockdown still has to be approved by the main committee of the National Council – i.e. the Austrian parliament – on Sunday evening. However, a majority is considered certain.

The draft regulation for the lockdown had already become known on Friday. The new restrictions should apply to people from the age of twelve who have neither a vaccination certificate nor proof of a corona infection that has survived in the past 180 days. These people are only allowed to leave their homes for grocery shopping, work or training, visits to the doctor and for physical relaxation.

Consistent controls planned

The lockdown is to be controlled by a “close-knit network”, as Interior Minister Karl Nehammer announced. Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein said the measure would initially apply for ten days and then be checked. He also did not rule out further measures.

The lockdown is intended to “prevent a collapse in medical care”. The corona infection rates had recently risen dramatically in Austria. The seven-day incidence – i.e. the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within this period – was 848.2 according to the authorities on Sunday in Austria. In Germany it was 289.0 on the same day.

Schallenberg and Mückstein called again on Sunday to be vaccinated against the corona virus. The vaccination rate in Austria is 65 percent, which is slightly lower than in Germany.

Boosters after just four months

The state capital Vienna will be the first region in the EU to start vaccinating children between the ages of five and eleven on Monday. According to the city, more than 5000 vaccination appointments have been booked for children of this age group since Saturday. Vienna’s residents can also receive a booster vaccination four months instead of six months after their second vaccination.

Almost all of Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary have been high-risk areas since Sunday. Anyone who has not been vaccinated or has recovered must be quarantined when they return to Germany from these countries. The domestic isolation can only be ended after five days by a test. The federal government had re-classified Austria – with the exception of two municipalities and the Riss valley on Lake Achensee – as well as the Czech Republic and Hungary on Friday because of the high levels of new corona infections as high-risk areas.

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