Austrian Chancellor announces national closure of unvaccinated citizens of Corona, starting tomorrow: “Our job as government is to protect the people. The immunization rate is shameful.”
The Austrian government announced at noon (Sunday) a national unvaccinated closure, which will begin tonight at midnight, in order to stem the wave of morbidity that is raging in the country. The quarantine prohibits unvaccinated people over the age of 12 from leaving their homes except for work, buying groceries, going for a walk – or receiving the vaccine for the corona virus.
Authorities in Austria fear that hospital staff will not be able to cope with the increase in the number of Corona patients hospitalized. The new chancellor, Alexander Schlenberg, told reporters in Vienna today: “Our job as a government is to protect the people. That is why we have decided that starting tomorrow there will be a closure on the unvaccinated.” Schellenberg explained that “the situation is serious,” noting that the decision was made with a heavy heart. “Unfortunately this is a necessary step,” he said.
According to the APA news agency, the closure will apply to 2 million people, out of 8.9 million residents living in Austria. The national closure in Austria will not apply to children under the age of 12 who have not yet received the vaccine for the virus.
Chancellor Schlenberg said that at this point the closure on non-vaccinated Austrians is planned to last ten days. He called on the authorities to make sure that those who leave the houses – for non-necessary purposes – have indeed received the vaccine for corona. Police will conduct random checks during quarantine, and non-vaccinated who have violated the restrictions will be fined up to 1,450 euros. Many elements in Austria, including the police and the Chancellor’s Conservative Party, have questioned the authorities’ chances of successfully enforcing a national closure that applies to only part of the population.
The vaccination rate in Austria is among the lowest in Western Europe: only 65% of the population is fully vaccinated. “The rate of vaccinations is shamefully low, we must raise it,” Chancellor Schellenberg said today when announcing the closure. Many Austrians question the effectiveness of vaccines for Corona, and the one contributing to the phenomenon is the far-right Freedom Party – the third largest party in the Austrian parliament.
Unlike the Netherlands, which is now facing a wave of morbidity and has imposed new restrictions on the entire population, the Austrian government has said it wants to avoid restrictions on those who are fully vaccinated. In the Netherlands, 15 rioters were arrested yesterday in the city of Leeuwarden in the north of the country. A demonstration was held in the town square with the participation of hundreds of people.
In recent weeks Austria has been suffering from an alarming rise in morbidity, and today reported 11,522 new infections with the virus compared to 8,554 a week ago. According to data published last week, the rate of infection in Austria is 710.8 per 100,000 people. By comparison, in neighboring Germany – which is also suffering from a worrying rise in morbidity, the rate of infection in Corona is 289 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Tomorrow, in addition to the national closure on unvaccinated citizens, Austria will begin vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 11 in Corona. It will be the first country in the region to do so. The operation will open at a vaccination center in the capital, Vienna.