COVID-19: Austria will introduce lockdown for all unvaccinated people from midnight | World news

Austria is blocking all unvaccinated residents from midnight on Sunday, the government has said.

Anyone over the age of 12 who has not been double-jabbed will only be allowed to leave their home to work, school, exercise and buy important supplies.

The shutdown will affect about two million of Austria‘s 8.9 million inhabitants and lasts for 10 days before being reviewed.

On Friday, the government announced plans to lock the unvaccinated inside two regions – Upper Austria and Salzburg – but this has now been extended to the rest of the country.

Austria has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe and a seven-day average COVID infection rate of 775.5 per 100,000 people. The UK equivalent is currently 348.7 per capita. 100,000.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced the measures on Sunday.  Photo: AP
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced the measures on Sunday. Photo: AP

Ministers hope the new measures will encourage people to get vaccinated and start limiting the number of cases.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told reporters in Vienna on Sunday: “It is our job as the Austrian government to protect the population. Therefore, we decided that from Monday … there will be a lockdown for the unvaccinated.”

Police will be asked to monitor people’s activities and can fine them up to £ 1,200 (1,450 euros) for breaking the rules, Mr Schallenberg added.

Schallenberg stressed that although the seven-day infection rate for vaccinated people has been declining in recent days, the number of unvaccinated is increasing.

“The rate for the unvaccinated is over 1,700, while that for the vaccinated is 383,” he said.

He also urged people who have already been vaccinated to get their booster jabs, claiming that otherwise “we will never get out of this vicious circle”.

There has been growing concern about rising coronavirus cases in Europe, where the Netherlands is entering a three-week partial lockdown and officials are considering new restrictions in Germany.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that he feared “storm clouds gathering over parts of the European continent” could find their way to Britain if more people do not take booster jabs.

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