Austria locks down two million unvaccinated residents

Austria locks down two million unvaccinated residents

Austria imposed a lockdown for about two million of its citizens who were not vaccinated against COVID-19 on Monday (15/11). Reporting from Reuters, Monday, the restrictions on movement are carried out with strict inspections by the police to ensure citizens' compliance with the rules

Ummatimes - Being one of the countries that has felt the biggest impact of the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Europe, Austria is considering re-imposing a lockdown. "My goal is very clear to encourage the unvaccinated to be vaccinated, not to quarantine the unvaccinated," Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told ORF radio.

Austria's government says some two million people in the country of about nine million are now only allowed to leave their homes for a limited number of reasons, such as traveling to work or shopping for basic necessities. The lockdown was in place to counter a spike in infections sparked by a full vaccination rate of only about 65 percent of the population. Austria's vaccination rate is one of the lowest in western Europe

Many Austrians are skeptical of vaccines. This view is being pushed by the far-right Freedom Party, which is planning a protest against the government's coronavirus policy.

In contrast, the government has noted an increase in the number of Austrians vaccinated for the first dose, since unvaccinated people were barred from visiting restaurants, cafes, cinemas and ski areas last week. Police are carrying out extra checks and Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said they would check the vaccination status of all members of the public with whom they interacted.

However, there are widespread doubts including among conservatives and the police about whether the lockdown can be properly enforced. This is because it can be difficult to verify whether an unvaccinated person is on his way to work, which is allowed, or going shopping for non-essential items, which is prohibited.