Nationwide Lockdown Imposed on Unvaccinated Citizens in Austria

Published November 15th, 2021 - 08:28 GMT
Austria orders nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people
Special edition postage stamps issued by the Austrian Post, in the shape and made of the same fabric as an face protection mask, are pictured in Vienna on September 16, 2021 during the ongoing coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. The Austrian Post has issued 150,000 of these stamps on September 15, 2021. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Austrian government ordered a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people

The Austrian government has ordered a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg today confirmed that millions of citizens would be placed into lockdown from tomorrow amid a worrying trend in infections.    

The move, which will affect about two million people in the country of 8.9million, prohibits unvaccinated individuals from leaving their homes except for basic activities such as working, grocery shopping - or getting vaccinated.

It will not apply to children under the age of 12 because they cannot yet officially get vaccinated. 

It comes after hundreds of Dutch protestors had a water cannon turned on them by police last night after they objected to the partial return of lockdown introduced by The Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Earlier today hundreds of people descended upon the streets of Ballhausplatz in Vienna during an anti-vaccination rally. 

Protesters held placards in their hands reading 'no compulsory vaccination' as they walked through the streets.

On Sunday, Mr Schallenberg told reporters in Vienna: 'It's our job as the government of Austria to protect the people.

'Therefore we decided that starting Monday ... there will be a lockdown for the unvaccinated.'      

The lockdown will initially last for ten days and police have been asked to check people outside to make sure they are vaccinated, Mr Schallenberg said.  

Austria has one of the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe, with only around 65 per cent of the total population fully vaccinated. 

In recent weeks, the country has faced a worrying trend in infections and reported 11,552 new cases on Sunday; a week ago there were 8,554 new infections.

The seven-day infection rate stands at 775.5 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants. 

In comparison, the rate is at 289 in neighbouring Germany, which has already also sounded the alarm over the rising numbers.

Last night the streets in the Netherlands were deserted as new government rules dictated all restaurants and bars close their doors for trade at 8pm.

Restaurants, bars and all nightlife have been ordered to close for business each day no later than 8pm, leaving many streets around the country deserted on what would normally be a bustling time for nightlife.

It came as angry clashes erupted between Dutch protestors and police after they objected to the partial return of lockdown.

Dutch police blasted a group of around 200 people in The Hague with water in a bid to disperse demonstrators who had been throwing stones and fireworks in protest on Friday evening. 

Prime Minister Mark Rutte was giving a press briefing to the media when protestors clashed with riot police and mounted officers outside the Justice and Security Ministry in the Dutch city. 

Later that evening, after flares, projectiles and bicycles were thrown at police, officers were seen hitting fleeing demonstrators with batons as what started as a peaceful protest descended into chaos.

Although death remain low, the Netherlands recorded their highest ever daily infection count positive COVID cases on Friday as medics warned hospitals were being put under huge pressure amid a record-breaking surge of infections.

Referring to the 'unpleasant' return of lockdown measures from this Saturday, Mr Rutte said restrictions that the Dutch people had thought had ended for good were being re-imposed for three weeks. 

Meanwhile, COVID cases have tumbled in the UK over the past month, leading to prominent experts including 'Professor Lockdown' Neil Ferguson to share their optimism that the UK can avoid a return of 'Netherlands-style lockdown' restrictions this winter.

Infections have trended downwards since October 24, with independent tracking studies finding a 16 per cent weekly decline last week.

Daily cases rose week-on-week for the second day in a row yesterday - up by a quarter on last week to 38,351 - but experts are hopeful this is a temporary effect of children returning to school after half term. 

Hospital admissions for the virus have decreased for nearly a week straight, and are projected to fall even further in coming weeks. 

Another 145 coronavirus deaths were also registered on Friday in a 25 per cent decrease compared to the toll last week. 

Speaking on BBC R4's Today programme, Professor Ferguson said: 'We might see slow increases as we did in October. I think it is unlikely we will get anything close to what we had last year, that catastrophic winter wave.' 

The professor at Imperial College London added: 'We've had two or three weeks of declining cases and admission to hospitals - that may be petering out, it is too early to say.

'There is a hint of an uptick in the last few days.

'But we are in quite a different situation from those European countries you are talking about (the Netherlands, Germany).

'We've had very high case numbers - between 30,000 and 50,000 a day - really for the last four months, since the beginning of July.

'That has obviously had some downsides. It has also paradoxically had an upside of boosting the immunity of the population compared with countries like Germany, the Netherlands and France, which have had much lower case numbers and are only now seeing an uptick.'

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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