‘We’re in a national emergency’: Germany may follow Austria into full lockdown as COVID cases hit new high

World

Austria is to become the first country in Europe to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory by law and has announced a full national lockdown from Monday, amid a fourth wave sweeping the continent.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said the coronavirus lockdown would run for a “maximum of 20 days”.

He also announced it would be a “requirement to get vaccinated” from 1 February.

Students will have to go back into home schooling, restaurants will be closed and cultural events will be canceled.

“We do not want a fifth wave,” Mr Schallenberg said.

The country had already introduced a series of strict measures along with Germany and Slovakia in the weeks leading up to Christmas, as a debate intensifies over whether vaccines alone are enough to tackle coronavirus.

Around 66% of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in western Europe.

More on Austria

And the infection rate is among the highest on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 971.5 per 100,000 people, and daily cases keep setting records.

Two states in Austria – Salzburg and Upper Austria – had already triggered a range of restrictions, with the rules extended to apply to vaccinated people and a full lockdown from next week that would see schools shut and a curfew imposed.

Last week, Europe accounted for more than half of the seven-day average of infections globally and about half of the latest deaths, according to a tally by Reuters news agency.

It comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced fresh curbs on public life for those who have not had a vaccine in areas where hospitals are filling dangerously fast with coronavirus patients.

Follow the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker.

And Greece has also imposed more restrictions on unvaccinated people following a recent surge in cases – barring them from all indoor spaces, such as cinemas, museums, and gyms.

The death rate from the virus has reached its highest level in six months, as roughly one-third of Greece’s population remains unvaccinated.

Articles You May Like

NASA Explains Why James Webb Space Telescope Uses ‘Salty’ Lenses
Self-isolation period in England cut to five days as 16 and 17-year-olds invited for booster jabs
Bank of England governor ‘concerned’ about inflationary pressures becoming more stubborn
Booting out PM ‘in national interest’ and partygate ‘adds to country’s mental health stress’ – Starmer
Ford signs five-year payments deal with Stripe for e-commerce drive