Austria to impose nationwide COVID lockdown and vaccine mandate

Bialystok, Poland — Austria grow to be the primary European nation to announce a brand new nationwide lockdown amid hovering COVID-19 infections. It begins on Monday and can final not less than 10 days, presumably 20, with folks allowed to depart their houses just for important wants, like groceries, medicines or to step out for train. Faculties are to remain open, however the authorities has urged dad and mom to maintain their kids dwelling if potential.

The federal government additionally introduced that from February 1, all Austrians over the age of 18 should be vaccinated in opposition to the coronavirus, by legislation.

The drastic measures come amid record-high each day COVID-19 infections. Austria has one of many lowest vaccination charges in Europe, and one of many highest charges of an infection.

“We now have not succeeded in convincing sufficient folks to get vaccinated,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg stated on Friday at a information convention, acknowledging the brand new restrictions had been “very painful.”

An indication shows guidelines for guests of the christmas market amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in Salzburg, on November 19, 2021.


Neighboring Germany is contemplating the same nationwide lockdown as a fourth wave of COVID-19 engulfs a lot of Europe. A number of the hardest hit nations are in Jap Europe.

Poland has recorded its highest variety of each day infections since final April — extra that 24,000 per day — whereas the demise toll for the reason that begin of the pandemic has risen to nearly 80,000.

We visited a COVID intensive care unit within the city of Bialystok, close to Poland’s border with Belarus, and located the ward full. Just one mattress was accessible, as a result of an aged lady had simply died.

“Usually about 20% survive,” a nurse on the ward advised Newsplaneta Information. She stated not one of the sufferers within the ICU had been vaccinated.

Europe now epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic


“We deal with greater than 300 sufferers with COVID-19,” stated Katarzyna Malinowska, a spokesperson for the College Clinic Hospital in Bialystok. “Ninety-five p.c who’re handled in intensive care [are] unvaccinated and 99% who die [are] unvaccinated.”

“However nonetheless folks do not need to take vaccine,” she lamented.

Whereas an inefficient roll-out has plagued Poland’s vaccination program, Austria and different Jap European nations are additionally grappling with vital vaccine distrust, fueled partly by far-right political teams which have gained momentum in recent times amid concern over immigration and different points.

“For a very long time, the consensus on this nation was that we did not need necessary vaccination,” Schallenberg stated on Friday. “For a very long time, maybe too lengthy.”

Europeans, like the remainder of the world, thought the darkest days of the pandemic had been behind them. However intensive care items throughout the continent are filling up as soon as extra.

The one distinction is, the final time issues bought this dangerous, getting a vaccine wasn’t even an choice.

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