Austria is just a few days away from locking down millions of people who have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, as the number of daily infections is at record levels and the pressure on ICUs is growing, Chancellor Alexander Salenberg announced today.
About 65% of the Austrian population is fully vaccinated against coronavirus, according to national statistics. Austria has the lowest vaccination rate of any country in Western Europe except Liechtenstein, according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many Austrians are skeptical of vaccinations against the disease, a trend encouraged by the far-right Freedom Party, the third largest party in parliament.
According to a government phase-out plan approved in September, as soon as 30% of ICU beds are filled with patients with Covid-19, those who have not been vaccinated against coronavirus will be locked out, with restrictions on their daily commuting. The current level is 20% and is growing rapidly.
“According to the plan, we are actually a few days away from the lockdown for unvaccinated people,” Salenberg told a news conference, adding that the vaccination rate in Austria was “shamefully low”.
The Conservative-led government announced on Friday that it was banning unvaccinated people from entering restaurants, theaters, ski lifts and access to personal care services such as hairdressers.
“A lockdown for the unvaccinated means that one cannot leave home unless one is going to work, go shopping (basic necessities), exercise – that is exactly what we all had to endure in 2020,” he said. chancellor, referring to the three nationwide lockdowns imposed last year.
The sharp rise in cases in Austria comes at a time when Eastern European countries, with the lowest vaccination rates on the continent, are facing some of the highest per capita daily death rates in the world.
Dutch experts today recommended a two-week partial lockdown, which will be the first to be implemented in a Western European country since the vaccines became widely available, while other countries require vaccination certificates to enter public places.
Austria, on the other hand, wants to avoid imposing additional restrictions on those who are fully vaccinated.
Following Salenberg’s announcement, the conservative governor of the Upper Austrian province, a stronghold of the far-right Freedom Party, which has the lowest vaccination rate and the highest infection rate in any of Austria’s nine provinces, said it planned to introduce a ban on on Monday.
It will be imposed “provided there is legal approval from the federal government and / or creates the legal basis for it,” Governor Thomas Stelzer said in a statement, adding that the situation in his province was “dramatic.”
Source From: Capital