A provincial governor has called for the nationwide quarantine of all citizens, just three days after Austrians unvaccinated were warned to get in line. Covid-19 continues to set new records.
“If no national lockdown is ordered tomorrow, there will definitely have to be a lockdown of several weeks in Upper Austria, together with our neighboring province Salzburg as of next week,”Thomas Stelzer from Upper Austria addressed lawmakers Thursday.
That will mean that at least two of Austria’s nine provinces will be in full lockdown mode just days after the nation created a two-tier society by locking down the approximately two million unvaccinated Austrians.
“We must raise the vaccination rate. It is shamefully low,”Alexander Schallenberg, the Chancellor of Germany, announced Sunday that residents who are not vaccinated would be restricted from leaving their home. “essential” purposes, such as buying groceries or going to a doctor’s office.
Random checks are being made by police to verify that there is proof of vaccination in Austrian neighborhoods. If found guilty of violating the lockdown order, residents without vaccination can face a steep penalty of up to $500. Refusing to undergo a vaccination check may result in a threefold increase in the amount due.
Stelzer, along with other Austrian governors, will meet Schallenberg on Friday and Wolfgang Mueckstein as Health Minister. A full lockdown is likely to be discussed.
New Covid-19 cases in the country passed the 15,000 mark for the first time on Thursday, far surpassing 2020’s daily high of 9,586, set when no vaccines were available. Upper Austria, Salzburg and other areas have suffered the most. Hospitals are at risk from bed shortages. Austria has a lower Covid-19 vaccination rate than other countries of Europe, 66% less than the European Union.
While Austria is the first to impose a lockdown on the unvaccinated, other EU countries – including Slovakia, Czechia and Greece – have imposed increasingly tight restrictions on people who haven’t taken a Covid vaccine.
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