Austria goes in nationwide lockdown on Monday and impose a corona vaccination mandate in February, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said: on Friday. It is the first such a confinement in a European nation since spring, and the first national vaccine mandate to be announced in a western democracy.
Austria has one of Europes highest national coronavirus infection rates, with 14.212 new registered cases in 24 hours on Thursday. And the Alpine country has one of the lowest vaccination rate in Western Europe, with just 66 percent of the population fully grafted.
Recent restrictions on not vaccinated people to have failed to bring the outbreak under sufficient control, leading to the measures announced on Friday.
“For a long time – maybe too long – I and others assumed it had to be this way possible convince people in Austria to voluntarily be vaccinated,” said Mr Schallenberg on Friday. “We are therefore at a very difficult time decision introduce one national vaccine mandate.”
The lockdown is reminiscent of of die imposed in all of Europe last winter, before there were vaccines against the coronavirus available, shall last for at least 10 days and affects both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Schools, where students are regularly tested, will remain Open, net like the grocery store stores.
“We have 21 months of the pandemic behind us, and we know we can only put an end to this if we vaccinate enough people”, said minister of Health Wolfgang Mückstein, adding that the lead-time of it took several months to prepare for the mandate, including clarifying the legal situation.
In a sign of rising concerns over the latest fourth wave, Austria just days ago went a step further than most countries by announcing a lockdown on not vaccinated people. That will remain in place after the full Lockdown expires, said Mr Schallenberg.
Required people get vaccinated against Covid starts on February 1 broke new ground again, and Mr Schallenberg defended the decision, citing the high number of Austrians who had refused to take a chance and the divisive political climate that supported them.
The far-right Freedom Party, whose leaders have proudly opposed the vaccines on grounds of personal freedoms, called for a demonstration on Saturday against the new measures.
“For a long time, the political consensus was that we should not… want mandatory vaccinations in this country,” said Mr Schallenberg when announcing the new measures. “But we have to face reality.”
A handfull of countries in Asia has imposed mandatory vaccinations against coronavirus for their adult populations, which include Indonesia, Micronesia, and Turkmenistan.
Austrian new measures embody a painful reality that several European countries face: Current rates of vaccinations, albeit under the highest in the world, have not been enough to prevent a spike of infections when winter sets in in and more people remain indoors.
Vaccinations have been shown to greatly reduce infections – and the severity of infections. grafted people are protected against hospitalization in intensive care units and death of the virus.
legislators in Germany has moved to approve new restrictions, including limiting the ability of not vaccinated people to drive public transit and attendance work in person.
The leaders of four regions in Italy called on the national government impose a lockdown on not vaccinated people – even if Italy is whole work force is now required to either be vaccinated regularly of tested for the virus.
In Belgium, where the number of patients in intensive care units is the highest since May, the authorities have made work from home obligated for four days a week until December 12.
eastern european countries like Bulgaria and Romania, where vaccination coverage is lowest in the European Union, are facing record hospital admissions and deaths. Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia take their highest numbers of infections since the begin of the pandemic.
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