Province of Austria to place millions of unvaccinated people in Covid containment

Labyrinthine Covid Reminder System Is The Real Reason For The Delays

Austria is expected to place millions of people not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in lockdown within days as infections skyrocket to record levels and intensive care units face increasing pressure.

The country’s worst-affected province, Upper Austria, plans to introduce a lockdown for the unvaccinated from Monday next week, following recommendations from medical experts.

Europe is again “at the epicenter” of the pandemic with Covid cases reaching or exceeding record levels due to uneven vaccine coverage and a relaxation of preventive measures, the World Health Organization, adding that 500,000 more deaths are expected in the region. by February.

Coronavirus deaths have increased by 10% across the continent in the past week, making it the only region in the world where Covid-19 cases and deaths are steadily increasing, according to a WHO report .

Austrian regional governor Thomas Stelzer called the situation “dramatic” and said a lockdown would be introduced “provided there is a legal green light from the federal government or the federal government creates the legal basis,” reports the Austrian press agency.

The province has the lowest vaccination rate and the highest infection rate of Austria’s nine provinces, according to government data.

Austria has the lowest vaccination rate of any country in Western Europe except Liechtenstein, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Those who are not vaccinated will have restrictions on their daily travel, including bans from restaurants, hotels, barber shops and major public events.

The region will be the first to upgrade to level five of Austria’s five-step incremental government plan agreed in September which states that once 30% of intensive care beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients, those not vaccinated against the coronavirus will be placed under confinement. The current level is 20% and is increasing rapidly.

“According to the phased plan, we actually only have a few days before we need to introduce the lockdown for unvaccinated people,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said at a press conference on Thursday, adding that the vaccination rate of Austria was “shamefully low”.

About 65% of the Austrian population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to national statistics. Upper Austria records just under 60% of the total vaccinated population.

Many Austrians are skeptical of vaccinations, a view encouraged by the far-right Freedom party, the third largest in parliament.

Schallenberg said Thursday during a visit to Bregenz in western Austria: “I don’t see why two-thirds should lose their freedom because one-third procrastinates.

“For me, it is clear that there should be no containment for the vaccinated out of solidarity for the unvaccinated.

“A lockdown for the unvaccinated means you can’t leave your home unless you go to work, go shopping [for essentials], stretch your legs – namely, exactly what we all had to go through in 2020, ”Schallenberg added, referring to three national blockades last year.

The rise in the number of Covid cases in Austria comes at a time when Eastern European states, with the lowest vaccination rates on the continent, experience the highest number of daily deaths per capita in the world .

The number of new coronavirus infections in Austria has again reached an all-time high, with 11,975 cases registered within 24 hours, authorities said.

The seven-day incidence per 100,000 population climbed to 751, three times that of neighboring Germany.

With reporting from Reuters and Associated Press


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