Chancellor Alexander Schellenberg said on Sunday that Austria was not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, with millions of people in lockdown until Monday.
Europe has again become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted some governments to consider reimposing the unpopular lockdown.
About 65% of Austria’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in Western Europe. Many Austrians are skeptical of vaccines, a view promoted by the far-right Freedom Party, the third largest in parliament.
While the Netherlands is dealing with its surge in infections by imposing a partial lockdown that applies to all, Austria’s conservative-led government says it wants to avoid further restrictions on those who are vaccinated entirely.
“We must increase the vaccination rate. It is embarrassingly low,” Schellenberg said at a news conference announcing the new measure after a video call with the governors of nine Austria’s provinces.
Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein told the news conference that people 12 and under would be exempt from the lockdown, allowing unconnected people to leave their homes for limited reasons such as going to work or shopping. last 10 days.
Many officials, including Schellenberg’s conservative party and the police, have expressed doubts that such a lockdown can be enforced precisely because it only applies to a segment of the population. Schalenberg and Interior Minister Karl Nehamer said, however, that a thorough investigation would be carried out by the police.