Austria orders nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated

Austria orders nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated.

BERLIN – The Austrian government has ordered a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people starting at midnight Sunday to combat rising coronavirus infections and deaths.

The measure prohibits unvaccinated people 12 years and older from leaving their homes, except for basic activities like working, shopping, going for a walk or getting vaccinated.

Authorities are concerned about rising infections and deaths and that soon hospital staff will no longer be able to handle the growing influx of COVID-19 patients.

“It is our job as the Austrian government to protect the people,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told reporters in Vienna on Sunday. “Therefore, we decided that from Monday … there will be a lockdown for the unvaccinated.”

The blockade affects some 2 million people in the Alpine country of 8.9 million, the APA news agency reported. It does not apply to children under the age of 12 because they cannot yet be officially vaccinated.

The lockdown will initially last 10 days and police will patrol to check people outside to make sure they are vaccinated, Schallenberg said, adding that additional forces will be assigned to the patrols.

Unvaccinated people can be fined up to 1,450 euros ($ 1,660) if they violate the blockade.

Austria has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe: only about 65% of the total population is fully vaccinated. In recent weeks, Austria has faced a worrying increase in infections. Authorities reported 11,552 new cases on Sunday; A week ago there were 8,554 new daily infections.

Deaths have also increased in recent weeks. 17 new deaths were reported on Sunday. Overall, Austria’s pandemic death toll is 11,706, the APA reported.

The seven-day infection rate stands at 775.5 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants. By comparison, the rate is 289 in neighboring Germany, which has already raised the alarm over the rising numbers.

Schallenberg noted that while the seven-day infection rate for vaccinated people has decreased in recent days, the rate is increasing rapidly for unvaccinated people.

“The rate of the unvaccinated is more than 1,700, while that of the vaccinated is 383,” said the chancellor.

Schallenberg also asked people who have been vaccinated to receive their booster shots, saying that otherwise “we will never get out of this vicious cycle.”