Austria will be the first to apply a blanket ban on all unvaccinated citizens of its territory starting Sunday. Alexander Schallenberg, Chancellor of Austria, said that a decision would be taken over the weekend.
Alexander Schallenberg announced Friday that the Austrian government would make a decision on Sunday regarding the two-tier lockdown system. Schallenberg said that the decision will be made following meetings with the governors of Austria’s nine provinces.
Thomas Stelzer, the governor of Upper Austria has asked permission to secure his territory from Monday. Upper Austria is currently recording more cases of Covid-19 than any other province, a situation Stelzer described as “It was dramatic,” according to the Austrian Press Agency.
A nationwide lockdown aimed at only the unvaccinated was proposed by the government back in September. This would be implemented when Covid patients occupy 30% of ICU beds. This number is currently at 20%, and it’s rising.
Schallenberg made clear, during a Thursday press conference, how strict the restrictions would be on the unvaccinated. “One cannot leave one’s home unless one is going to work, shopping (for essentials), stretching one’s legs – namely exactly what we all had to suffer through in 2020,”He stated.
There are approximately 3.1 million Austrians – around 35% of the population – are not fully vaccinated. The country’s vaccination rate is one of the lowest in Europe, and Schallenberg described the lackluster jab takeup as “shameful.”
Should the government in Vienna go ahead with the lockdown plan, Austria would be the only country in the world to impose a lockdown solely on the unvaccinated. Other countries have used similarly heavy-handed methods to force compliance with the jab, however. In the US, the Biden administration has pressed private employers to fire staff who refuse the vaccine, so-called ‘vaccine passports’ are commonplace throughout Europe for entering bars, restaurants and entertainment venues, and in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has explicitly backed a “two-tier”System that allows the vaccined to choose when they are allowed to vaccinate and places restrictions on those not vaccinated.
Austria’s pandemic-related restrictions are opposed in the national parliament by the right-wing Freedom Party, and locally by the newly-formed People, Freedom, Rights party.
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