Austrian leader threatens lockdowns for unvaccinated

Austria’s leader on Thursday reportedly claimed that the country is only days away from needing to implement lockdowns amongst the unvaccinated as it struggles to increase its vaccination rate amid rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Calling Austria’s 65 percent vaccination rate “shamefully low,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said during a news conference that “according to the incremental plan, we actually have just days until we have to introduce the lockdown for unvaccinated people,” Reuters reported.

“A lockdown for the unvaccinated means one cannot leave one’s home unless one is going to work, [essential] shopping, stretching one’s legs — namely exactly what we all had to suffer through in 2020,” Schallenberg added.

Last week, Austria imposed a set of restrictions among those who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19, including barring unvaccinated people from being able to go to places such as salons, restaurants and theaters, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the province of Upper Austria announced Thursday that it would impose a lockdown for unvaccinated people starting on Monday, pending federal approval.

“The situation is dramatic, so we are triggering the fifth stage of the federal government’s step-by-step plan and are planning a lockdown for unvaccinated people from Monday, provided there is a legal green light from the federal government or the federal government creates the legal basis,” Upper Austria Gov. Thomas Stelzer said, according to the Austrian Press Agency.

The country reported more than 7,000 coronavirus cases on Wednesday and more than 8,000 the day before, according to data from the World Health Organization. COVID-19 cases were as low as the double digits in late June and July.

Tags austria Coronavirus coronavirus lockdowns coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 Lockdown Reuters

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