Austria will go right into a nationwide lockdown on Monday and impose a coronavirus vaccination mandate in February, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg mentioned on Friday. It’s the first such lockdown in a European nation because the spring, and the primary nationwide vaccine mandate on the continent.
“No one needs a lockdown — the lockdown is the final resort, a crude instrument,” Well being Minister Wolfgang Mückstein mentioned. “A lockdown is all the time an imposition, however it’s the most dependable instrument now we have to interrupt this fourth wave.”
The measures, paying homage to those who European nations put in place earlier than Covid vaccines had been obtainable, observe different latest restrictions which have finished 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 individuals. Requiring individuals to be vaccinated in opposition to Covid beginning on Feb. 1 broke new floor once more.
“For a very long time, the political consensus has been that we are not looking for obligatory vaccinations on this nation,” Mr. Schallenberg mentioned when saying the brand new measures. “However now we have to face actuality.”
Austria has considered one of 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. Simply 66 % of the nation’s inhabitants is totally inoculated.
Underneath the brand new lockdown, most features of public life will probably be suspended for at the very least 10 days. The measure will have an effect on each vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
Individuals will probably be allowed to go away their houses just for very important functions comparable to looking for groceries, going to work or getting a primary stage of train. Solely supermarkets and shops promoting necessities will probably be allowed to stay open.
The lockdown for unvaccinated individuals will stay in place after the total lockdown expires, Mr. Schallenberg mentioned.