VIENNA — 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 February, its government said on Friday.
Roughly two-thirds of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. Its infections are among the highest on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 991 per 100,000 people.
Austria put a lockdown on Monday for those not vaccinated. However, infections continue to rise.
The two most affected provinces, Salzburg (Austria) and Upper Austria (Austria), announced on Thursday that they would implement their own lockdowns. This increased pressure on the government for a national one.
” We have not succeeded in convincing sufficient people to get vaccinated,” Alexander Schallenberg, Chancellor of Austria, stated at a news conference that the lockdown would begin on Monday and that the vaccine requirement would be implemented on February. 1.
“It hurts that such measures still have to be taken.”
With cold weather setting in across Europe as winter approaches, governments have been forced to consider reimposing unpopular lockdowns. The Netherlands has reimposed a partial lockdown, with bars and restaurants closing at 8 p.m.
The issue has also deepened a rift between Schallenberg’s conservatives and their coalition partner, the left-wing Greens. Schallenberg stated that he didn’t want to place additional restrictions on unvaccinated people, even though Wolfgang Mueckstein, the Health Minister, called for a nighttime curfew.
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