COVID: Austria confines its population and imposes vaccination

Vienna | Austria will confine its entire population on Monday and has decided to make vaccination mandatory from February 1, becoming the first EU country to take such measures in the face of the resurgence of COVID cases.

We have to “look reality in the face,” Conservative Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told a news conference in Tyrol, after discussing with all regional governors.

“Despite months of persuasion, we have not been able to convince enough people to get vaccinated,” he said, lamenting the current overload of intensive care units.

“Sustainably increasing the vaccination rate is the only way out of this vicious circle,” Schallenberg said, calling it the “ticket out” of the pandemic.

He also announced confinement for a “period of 20 days.”

In Europe, the pandemic is accelerating and several countries have announced a tightening of restrictions in recent days, in Sweden, Germany or Greece.

Since Monday already in Austria, the two million unvaccinated people were not allowed to leave their homes except to go shopping, play sports or to receive medical attention.

Now, the entire population of 8.9 million inhabitants is affected by the measure in this country with a vaccination rate of 66%, slightly below the European average, despite the introduction of a health pass since spring.

Recent government restrictions have led to a marked increase in the number of registrations at vaccination centers.

But the number of cases continues to rise, reaching levels unprecedented since the outbreak of the pandemic: more than 15,000 new contaminations were recorded on Thursday.

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