Austria has put people who are not vaccinated on lockdown beginning Monday. It is the most extreme decision of an Western European country to slow the latest outbreak of coronavirus.
European cases reached nearly 2 million in the last week, which was the highest number in one week in Europe since outbreak began. The Netherlands along with Latvia have both introduced new regulations, while Germany is weighing the possibility of imposing new restrictions following cases rising to records.
In the world, governments eager to return life to normal are searching for ways to make more people to be vaccinated by putting unvaccinated people on forced leave or refusing to pay for their medical expenses.
Austria should increase the “shamefully low vaccination rate,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said at a press event in Vienna. “We are not taking this step lightly. But unfortunately it’s necessary.”
Vienna’s Latest Lockdown for those who are not vaccinated What Does it Mean?
- The people who aren’t vaccinated are unable to leave their homes for study, work, go to medical emergencies, purchase food items, or take a breath of fresh air.
- Anyone who is not vaccination-free and breaks the rules when they enter places such as retail stores or cinemas face fines that start at around 500 euro ($572). Businesses that are found to be in violation of the new rules could face fines that start at around 3000 euros. Organisations who conspire to defy regulations could end up facing a fine of up to 30,000 euros.
- The Austrian Interior Ministry said that police inspections could be performed on all citizens and that means even people who are inoculated should not leave their homes if they don’t have evidence of vaccination.
- Individuals who have been vaccinated are still allowed to shop, dine and go to cultural occasions. The Commerce Association estimates that the new regulations could cost up to 350 million euros in sales per week.
- These new regulations will remain in place until November. 24.
About 65 percent of Austrians are fully protected, one of the least of the countries in Western Europe, and short of the levels that are believed to build herd immunity to the virus.
The inoculation rate in Austria is far lower than its neighbors such as France and Italy but is far higher than the rest the rest of Eastern Europe. In Slovakia which is the capital city of Bratislava is located less than 50 miles away from Vienna just 43% of people are fully vaccine-free.
The average for Austria’s seven-day Covid cases has nearly doubled in the last month to over 10,000 and the recent rates of infection are one of the highest in the world. The highest number of cases was confirmed on Saturday. The Austrian seven-day infection rate (775) new infections per 100,000 is significantly higher than 289 in neighbouring Germany and Germany, where authorities are making a number of efforts to limit the spread of the virus.
German leaders are planning to require businesses to permit employees to work from home as often as is feasible and the military has placed thousands of soldiers on standby to help stressed medical facilities as per reports from the media. Germany has recently declared Austria as a high-risk area, and is requiring anyone who has not been vaccinated from Austria to be quarantined.
The Netherlands is also back in lockdown mode, with the early closure of bars, restaurants and shops however, it hasn’t targeted those who haven’t been vaccinated for particular treatment. Latvia has closed bars and stores, imposed curfews, and has resumed the option of distance education for students.
Anyone who does not have evidence of the vaccination or recovery from Covid are now barred from many events in Austria such as bars, restaurants, and concerts due to an increase in standards. For those who have had their vaccinations living life as usual, with masks required in indoor settings such as subways and stores and social distancing advised whenever it is it is possible.
Austria was among the most hot spots for coronavirus in the world at the outbreak of the disease as skiers returning from skiing were able to spread the virus across northern Europe and as far as Iceland.