About two million people who have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have been placed in lockdown in Austria as the country faces a surge in cases.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg on Monday confirmed that millions of citizens would be placed into lockdown from tomorrow amid a worrying trend in infections.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said “We are not taking this step lightly, but unfortunately it is necessary,”.
Unvaccinated people will only be allowed to leave home for limited reasons, like working or buying food.
It will not apply to children under the age of 12 because they cannot yet officially get vaccinated.
About 65% of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated – one of the lowest rates in Western Europe.
Meanwhile, the seven-day infection rate is more than 800 cases per 100,000 people, which is one of the highest in the region.
Protesters held placards in their hands reading ‘no compulsory vaccination’ as they walked through the streets.
Overall, Europe has again become the area most seriously affected by the pandemic and several countries are introducing restrictions and warning of rising cases.
However, the UK, which has one of the highest Covid infection rates, has yet to reintroduce restrictions, despite health leaders calling for rules like mandatory face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces to be brought back to avoid a winter crisis.
Mr. Schallenberg said “The lockdown will initially last for ten days and police have been asked to check people outside to make sure they are vaccinated”.