Austria to confine unvaccinated people from Monday or that they have not recently contracted covid-19, an unprecedented measure in the European Union that aims to curb the record number of new cases.
“The situation is serious (…). We do not take this measure lightly, but unfortunately it is necessary“Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said at a press conference in Vienna.
About 65% of the population has received two vaccine dose in Austria, a percentage lower than the European average, which is 67%, and far from countries such as Spain (79%) or France (75%).
Schallenberg had called this index “embarrassingly low” when unveiling this lockdown plan on Friday.
Specific, people who are not vaccinated will not be able to leave their homes, except for shopping, sports, or medical care.
This measure will apply to all people in this situation from the age of 12. And to ensure that it is respected, unannounced checks “on an unprecedented scale” will be carried out in public areas, said the government, which will launch additional police patrols.
Violators risk a fine of 500 euros (more than 2.2 million pesos), and those who refuse to submit to the controls to 1,450 euros (more than 6.4 million pesos).
The government will evaluate the results of these restrictions within ten days, Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein said this Sunday, and asked those reluctant to get vaccinated to do so as soon as possible.
‘WE DON’T WANT TO BE VACCINATED!’
Hundreds of protesters, opposed to the measure, have held demonstrations with banners that say, among other things, “no to compulsory vaccination“.
Unvaccinated people are already prohibited from entering restaurants, hotels and hairdressers.
“I’m here to send a message: we have to fight“Sarah Hein, 30, who works in a hospital, told the ‘AFP’ agency.
“We want to work, we want to help people, but we don’t want to be vaccinated. It depends on us“he added.
Another protester, who refused to give her name, said: “People who are healthy are being locked up!”
The city of One has also distinguished itself within the EU for launching a vaccination program for children from 5 to 11 years old with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
As of Saturday, more than 5,000 appointments had been booked for the first injections scheduled for Monday, November 15.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is reviewing the data and has not yet given its approval. However, member countries have the right to use unauthorized products in response to a “public health” emergency.
Also in Vienna, to attend festive, cultural or sporting events with more than 25 people or to go out to dinner, a PCR test will be required from now on, in addition to a certificate of vaccination or recovery.
Europe is being hit by a new wave of the pandemic, which has prompted several countries to re-establish restrictions, such as the Netherlands and Norway.