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Austria orders lockdown for those not vaccinated against COVID-19

Europe Materials 14 November 2021 19:28 (UTC +04:00)

Austria is placing millions of people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in lockdown as of Monday to deal with a surge in infections to record levels and the growing strain on intensive-care units, the government said on Sunday, Trend reports citing Reuters.

Europe is the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic again, prompting some governments to consider re-imposing unpopular lockdowns. Austria has one of the continent's highest infection rates, with a seven-day incidence of 815 per 100,000 people.

"We are not taking this step lightly but it is necessary," Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told a news conference announcing the new measure, under which the unvaccinated can only leave their homes for a limited number of reasons like going to work or shopping for essentials.

Roughly 65% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. Many Austrians are sceptical about vaccines, a view encouraged by the far-right Freedom Party, the third biggest in parliament.

The measures on Monday will extend those brought in a week ago which banned the unvaccinated from places including restaurants, hotels, theatres and ski lifts.

"In reality we have told one third of the population: you will not leave your apartment anymore apart from for certain reasons. That is a massive reduction in contacts between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated," Schallenberg said.

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