Austrian lockdown for the unvaccinated goes into effect

The lockdown, which is being imposed until Nov. 24, is believed to affect about 2 million people in the Alpine country of 8.9 million.

Published: 15th November 2021 03:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2021 03:11 PM   |  A+A-

The patient Kurt Switil, left, receives a Pfizer vaccination against the COVID-19 disease by a doctor in the vaccination center, Am Schoepfwerk' in Vienna, Austria.

The patient Kurt Switil, left, receives a Pfizer vaccination against the COVID-19 disease by a doctor in the vaccination center, Am Schoepfwerk' in Vienna, Austria. (Photo | AP)

By Associated Press

BERLIN: A nationwide lockdown in Austria for unvaccinated people who haven't recently had COVID-19 went into effect on Monday, and officials signaled that further measures may follow amid soaring infection rates.

The move, which took effect at midnight, prohibits people 12 and older who haven't been vaccinated or recently recovered from leaving their homes except for basic activities such as working, grocery shopping, going for a walk — or getting vaccinated.

The lockdown, which is being imposed until Nov. 24, is believed to affect about 2 million people in the Alpine country of 8.9 million. It doesn’t apply to children under 12 because they cannot yet officially get vaccinated. Officials have said that police patrols will be stepped up and unvaccinated people can be fined up to 1,450 euros ($1,660) if they violate the lockdown.

Authorities are concerned about rising infections and increasing pressure on hospitals. Austria on Sunday recorded 849.2 new cases per 100,000 residents over the previous seven days. About 65% of the population is fully vaccinated, a rate that Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has described as “shamefully low.”

Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein told ORF television that he wants to discuss further measures on Wednesday, and said that one proposal on the table is limits on going out at night that would also apply to the vaccinated.

Schallenberg sounded a more cautious note. “Of course I don't rule out sharpening” the measures, he told Oe1 radio, but he indicated that he doesn't expect restrictions on bars and the like at present. He said that further measures could include requiring full medical masks in more places, more working from home and requiring vaccinated people to get tested before going to events.



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