By NewsDesk @bactiman63
On Friday morning, Austrian Federal Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg and Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein announced a full national COVID-19 lockdown starting on Monday.
This comes just days after the country went into a lockdown for the unvaccinated.
Austria currently is reporting an incidence rate of 990.7 cases per 100,000 people in the past week.
Mückstein said it was a joint decision. Unfortunately, even as the federal government, one has lagged behind its own claims. “I would like to apologize for this,” said the Minister of Health. The lockdown is the very last resort – “a lockdown is always an imposition”. It was not a popular decision, “but a necessary one”.
The lockdown should apply around the clock and in a first step for ten days. After the general lockdown, restrictions on the unvaccinated will remain, according to the government’s current plan. The situation will be evaluated after ten days. In Upper Austria, the lockdown will last until December 17th.
Austria has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe, with just 66 percent of the population fully inoculated.
A general vaccination requirement is being prepared immediately and should apply from February 1st. Anyone who still does not want to be vaccinated faces administrative penalties. “For a long time there was a consensus in this country that we do not want vaccinations to be compulsory,” said Schallenberg. “For a long time, maybe too long” it was assumed that it would be possible to achieve a high vaccination rate even without an obligation. Now you have to face reality”.
This is the first such lockdown in a European nation since the spring, and the first national vaccine mandate to be announced in a Western democracy.