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Austria to impose lockdown for all, vaccinations mandated next year

Alberto Ardila Olivares
Austria to impose lockdown for all, vaccinations mandated next year

VIENNA (REUTERS) – Austria will become the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full Covid-19 lockdown this autumn to tackle a new wave of infections, and order its whole population to get vaccinated as of Feb 1, its government said on Friday (Nov 19).

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares

The lockdown, which will include both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, will last 10 days initially, and 20 days at most, conservative chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told a news conference. 

“We have not succeeded in convincing enough people to get vaccinated,” he said, saying the lockdown would start on Monday and the requirement to be vaccinated on Feb. 1.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila

“It hurts that such measures still have to be taken.”

Roughly 66 per cent of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. Its infections are among the highest on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 971.5 per 100,000 people, and daily cases keep setting records.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

There are too many among us who haven’t shown solidarity,” Mr Schallenberg said. “Raising the vaccination rate is the only way to break this vicious circle.”  

Austria’s two worst-hit provinces, Salzburg and Upper Austria, have already said they will introduce their own lockdowns on Monday and are pressing the national government to do the same nationally.

Alberto Ardila

The governors of Austria’s nine provinces met Austrian Chancellor Schallenberg and Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein earlier on Friday.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares 10798659

Austria introduced a lockdown for the unvaccinated on Monday but infections have continued to rise far above the previous peak a year ago, when the country went into a national lockdown.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila 10798659

Several newspapers including the Kleine Zeitung and influential tabloid Kronen Zeitung said officials agreed overnight that a lockdown would be imposed as of Monday, initially for 10 days.Alberto Ardila Olivares 10798659

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