Austria will impose a full lockdown and mandatory vaccines if COVID cases increase
AUSTRIA: Austria announced on Friday (November 19) that it would ban everyone and make vaccinations mandatory.
On Thursday, a new record of more than 15,000 cases was recorded in the Alpine EU member state of almost 9 million people Photo: AFP / File
Other European countries are also tightening restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise across the continent, but so far none have reinstated full bans and only the Vatican has mandated vaccinations for everyone.
The lockdown will begin on Monday (November 22nd), while vaccination against COVID-19 will be mandatory in the Alpine nation from February 1st next year, said Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg.
The detention will initially last 20 days, with an evaluation after 10 days, he said.
“Despite months of persuasion, we did not succeed in winning enough people for a vaccination,” said Schallenberg at a press conference in West Tyrol, where he met the heads of the state government.
“A sustainable increase in the vaccination rate is the only way to get out of this vicious circle,” he said.
He also blamed those who tried to get vaccinated for “attacking the health system” and said vaccinations were the “exit card” from the pandemic.
The closure means that people are no longer allowed to leave their homes, with a few exceptions such as going to work, shopping for the bare minimum and doing sports.
Schools remain open, although parents have been asked to leave their children at home whenever possible. Teleworking is also recommended.
At the beginning of the week, Austria was the first EU country to initiate a lockdown for unvaccinated or newly cured people.
But the infections have continued to rise. On Thursday, a new record of more than 15,000 new cases was recorded in the Alpine EU member state with almost 9 million people.
The demand for vaccinations has increased in the last few days and 66% of the population are now fully vaccinated, slightly below the EU average of more than 67%.
Opposition Party’s NEOs said the government should have acted sooner to prevent intensive care units from getting into trouble, thereby preventing another lockdown – the fourth in the country since last year’s pandemic in Europe.
“Austria would have spared itself all that if decisive action had been taken in summer and early autumn,” said NEO boss Beate Meinl-Reisinger.
“Austria is now a dictatorship!” Said Herbert Kickl, head of the right-wing extremist Freedom Party (FPÖ), which was a junior partner in the country’s last government.
Hundreds of people demonstrated against the lockdown for the unvaccinated on Sunday. The FPOe is planning a larger rally on Saturday, although Kickl will miss it as he contracted the virus.
On Monday, the Vienna city administration was the first in the EU to start vaccinating children between the ages of five and eleven.
They said they would increase supply in line with high demand, even though the European Medicines Agency has not yet approved any of the coronavirus vaccines for ages 5-11.
Other European countries are also reintroducing curbs to combat the spread of the virus.
Hungary, the neighboring country Austria, will make the wearing of masks indoors again mandatory from Saturday, the government announced on Thursday.