Austria confines its population and imposes vaccination

Austria will confine its entire population on Monday and has decided to make vaccination compulsory from February 1, becoming the first EU country to take such measures in the face of the resurgence of Covid cases.

We have to “look reality in the face”, said Conservative Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg at a press conference in Tyrol, after discussions with all the regional governors.

“Despite months of persuasion, we have not succeeded in convincing enough people to be vaccinated,” he said, deploring the current overload of intesnfis care units.

“Sustainably increasing the vaccination rate is the only way out of this vicious circle,” said Schallenberg, deeming it to be the “exit ticket” from the pandemic.

He also announced confinement for a “period of 20 days”.

In Europe, the pandemic is racing and several countries have announced a tightening of restrictions in recent days, in Sweden, Germany or Greece.

Since Monday already in Austria, the two million unvaccinated people were not allowed to leave their homes except for shopping, sports or for medical care.

Now, the entire population of 8.9 million inhabitants is affected by the measure in this country with a vaccination rate of 66%, slightly below the European average, despite the introduction of a health pass from spring.

The recent government restrictions have led to a marked increase in the number of registrations at vaccination centers.

But the number of cases continues to increase, standing at unprecedented levels since the emergence of the pandemic: Thursday, more than 15,000 new contaminations were recorded.

Austria will confine its entire population on Monday and has decided to make “vaccination compulsory” from February 1, becoming the first EU country to take such measures in the face of the resurgence of cases of Covid.

We must “face reality”, said Conservative Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg at a press conference in Tyrol, after discussions with all the regional governors.

“Despite months of persuasive work, we have not been able to convince enough people to get vaccinated,” he said, lamenting the current overload of intensive care units.

“Sustainably increasing the vaccination rate is the only way out of this vicious circle,” said Schallenberg, deeming it to be the “exit ticket” from the pandemic.

While an increasing number of countries require vaccination certificates for certain categories, such as health workers, very few in the world require vaccination for their entire adult population.

This is the case in two authoritarian states in Central Asia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, as well as in the Vatican. A French territory in the South Pacific with wide autonomy, New Caledonia has also decided to impose vaccination from the end of December.

The Austrian chancellor also announced confinement until December 13, a decision which was “not easy to take” and which will be reassessed in ten days.

He said he was aware that we were asking “a lot” of those vaccinated, “because too many people did not show solidarity”.

In Europe, the pandemic is racing and several countries have announced a tightening of restrictions in recent days.

German officials on Thursday decided to impose severe restrictions on unvaccinated people and paved the way for compulsory vaccination for healthcare workers, while Greece prohibits unvaccinated people from entering closed spaces, except for places to eat.

Since Monday already in Austria, the two million unvaccinated people no longer had the right to leave their homes except for shopping, sports or for medical care.

Now, the entire population of 8.9 million inhabitants is affected by the measure in this country with a vaccination rate of 66%, slightly below the European average, despite the introduction of a health pass from spring.

 

Schools remain open for now but parents are encouraged to keep children at home if they can. Telecommuting is strongly recommended.

The restrictions that had been recently taken by the government led to a marked increase in the number of registrations in vaccination centers.

But the number of cases continues to increase, standing at unprecedented levels since the emergence of the pandemic: Thursday, more than 15,000 new contaminations were recorded.

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