Unvaccinated people who haven’t recently had COVID-19 are now subject to a nationwide lockdown in Austria as part of a string of measures being taken by European governments to control the massive regional outbreak of the virus, according to the Associated Press.
Starting on Monday, Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg imposed a lockdown on all residents over the age of 12 who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine. It is expected that they will only be allowed out of their homes in exceptional circumstances, such as working, purchasing necessities, or receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Unvaccinated residents could face fines of up to 1,450 euros ($1,660) if they break the rules during the lockdown.
According to ABC News, the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections has hit Austria, and the government blames the highly contagious delta variant and low vaccination rates for the outbreak. The Central European country had 11,707 new cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday.
Hospitalizations totaled 2,327 of those, with 433 of those patients in intensive care. Health officials are worried about an increase in the number of infections and the consequent strain on hospitals. There were 894.3 new cases per 100,000 Austrians in the previous seven days, according to Associated Press.
Low Rate Of Vaccination
The Our World in Data Project at the University of Oxford showed that about 65 percent of Austria’s 8.9 million people had been vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in western Europe, as per New York Times. The increase in infections was primarily due to a drop in cases among those who had been vaccinated.
Unvaccinated individuals have accounted for 83 percent of all cases of illness reported in the month of February. At the moment, a proposed limit on all residents’ ability to leave their homes after dark is on the table, said Austrian Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein, according to The Hill.
The Alpine country’s 8.9 million residents will be under a state of emergency until November 24. Under-12s in Austria can only be vaccinated in a pilot project in Vienna, which saw a lot of demand for vaccinations on Monday even though they cannot be vaccinated officially.
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