Covid-19: Austria wants to confine the unvaccinated

“Containment for the unvaccinated. Conservative Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg took a step never seen before by announcing, on Friday, November 12, that Austrians who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 will no longer be able to leave their homes as of Monday, except to go to work. , to make your careers essential. or “stretch your legs.” “The majority of the population, who were right and protected themselves, must also be protected now. I do not see that it is limited to solidarity with the minority of the unprotected ”, declared Mr. Schallenberg to justify this unprecedented differential treatment.

This decision is the result of the wave of pollution, as spectacular as it is rapid, that currently affects all of Central Europe and extends to Germany. These are all countries where vaccination rates remain lower, or just approaching the European Union (EU) average.

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On Wednesday, November 10, Austria recorded 12,309 contaminations, the highest number since the start of the epidemic. As a corollary, the number of patients hospitalized in intensive care has increased dramatically to 417 people. On Thursday, the government’s scientific commission sounded the alarm by assuring that intensive care services could, at this rate, be overwhelmed around “November 24” and called for “immediate additional measures.”

Since November 8, unvaccinated Austrians could no longer access restaurants, hairdressers and cultural activities without showing a health pass certifying a vaccination or a cure with less than six months. The “confinement of the unvaccinated” will further limit their movements, since they will no longer be able to go to non-essential shops or the traditional Christmas markets. They will be able to continue going to work, with tests, or to the supermarket, and will also retain the right to go out “to ventilate physically and mentally”, which has always been possible during previous lockdowns in Austria, where there is never had a kilometer rule. or needed an exit certificate.

A non-compulsory vaccination tradition

The Minister of Health, the environmentalist Wolfgang Mückstein, announced that this differentiated containment would be applied as a priority to the two most affected regions – Salzburg and Upper Austria – but that it could also be extended to the whole country on Sunday. “I hope that this decision will be made in all regions,” pleaded Mr. Schallenberg, conditional on a discussion with the presidents of the regions and an agreement of the office of the National Council, the lower house of Parliament. – that it should meet urgently on Sunday evening to take this sensible measure. The ordinances that precisely regulate this confinement should not be made public until a few hours before their entry into force.

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