Corona worldwide: lockdown in Austria comes into force – politics

A fourth lockdown is intended to break the massive corona wave in Austria. Since Monday only shops for daily needs have been open, the cultural scene is idle, the museums and cinemas are closed. People are only allowed to leave their homes for good reason, including taking a walk or jogging.

The schools are open, it is up to the parents whether they send their offspring to class. The number of cases of corona infections is particularly high among children and adolescents. The police want to monitor with numerous controls whether the regulations are being observed.

The ruling ÖVP had long rejected this step. For weeks it was argued that such restrictions were unreasonable for the vaccinated and convalescent. It was only the heavy utilization of the intensive care units with Covid patients that ultimately led to a rethink.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) emphasized that the exit restrictions would end on December 13th. Several ministers in his cabinet have made less clear statements. Even in the badly hit economy, there are doubts as to whether the government will keep its promise of a three-week lockdown. For unvaccinated people, the measure should continue indefinitely.

Over the weekend, around 50,000 people in Austria protested against the lockdown and the compulsory corona vaccination announced for February 2022. 40,000 demonstrators gathered in Vienna alone. There were also rallies in Bregenz, Linz and Salzburg. The vaccination skeptics find political support from the right wing FPÖ, the third strongest force in parliament.

On Sunday, around 14,000 new infections were registered in Austria within 24 hours. According to the authorities, the seven-day incidence climbed to 1,085 infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week. Occupancy in the intensive care units continues to rise. 528 patients are currently being cared for there. That’s not far from the third wave’s high, which was 611. Two out of three Austrians are now fully vaccinated. (22.11.2021)

Riots during corona protests in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, protests against corona measures broke out for the third day in a row. There were riots on Sunday evening in the cities of Leeuwarden, Groningen, Enschede and Tilburg.

In Enschede, where an emergency ordinance was issued, the police tried to disperse a crowd with batons, according to a video circulated in the Internet media. In Leeuwarden, stones were thrown at police cars and demonstrators set off flares. In The Hague, the police used water cannons on Saturday evening against rioters who attacked officials with fireworks and damaged traffic lights and traffic signs. Five police officers were injured, one seriously. There have been 19 arrests. In total, the police took at least 40 people into custody in several locations.

Thousands of people gathered in Amsterdam for a protest march, although the rally had been canceled by the organizers after the violent riots in Rotterdam on Friday evening. Accompanied by a large police presence, the protest was peaceful.

In Rotterdam, protests against the corona restrictions on Friday evening escalated to such an extent that police officers were forced to shoot directly, according to Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. According to the authorities, three people with serious gunshot wounds were taken to hospitals. 51 people were arrested, around half of whom were young people. (22.11.2021)

Water cannons against demonstrators in Brussels

According to the police, around 35,000 people took to the streets on Sunday in Brussels against the stricter Corona measures and in particular the Corona Pass. The pictures distributed by the Belga news agency showed police cars with broken windows, burning barricades and the use of pyrotechnics. The police used water cannons and tear gas.

There were 44 arrests and three police officers were injured. Six police vehicles were damaged and one of the officers’ scooters was set on fire. Private individuals’ shop windows and cars have also been affected. The demonstration was approved by the city of Brussels, said a police spokeswoman for Belga. Together with the law enforcement officers, a route to the European quarter of the Belgian capital had been determined. According to the report, the demonstrators criticize, among other things, the increasing obligation to present Corona certificates in restaurants and other areas of life.

Similar to Germany, the number of daily corona infections had risen significantly in Belgium in the past few weeks. Most recently, an average of more than 12,000 new infections per day were recorded in the country with around 11.5 million inhabitants. Last Monday the value was more than 20,000 cases. Between November 13 and 19, there was an average of 268.3 corona-related hospital admissions per day, Belga reported, citing official communications. Looking at the previous week, that is an increase of 29 percent. (21.11.2021)

Unvaccinated people have to be quarantined after returning from high-risk areas

Due to the sharp increase in the number of infections, Belgium and a large part of the Netherlands have been high-risk corona areas since Sunday. Greece and Ireland, which are popular with holidaymakers, also fall into this category according to a classification by the federal government. In the case of the Netherlands, the overseas territories of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are excluded. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced the regulation on Friday.

Anyone who enters from a high-risk area and is not fully vaccinated or recovered has to be in quarantine for ten days and can only get rid of it with a negative test five days after arrival at the earliest. The following were removed from the list of high-risk areas on Sunday: French Guiana, New Caledonia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana and Suriname.

In the meantime, there were no corona high-risk areas in the European Union in late summer. Countries and regions with a particularly high risk of infection are classified as high-risk areas. But not only the infection numbers are decisive for this. Other criteria are the speed at which the virus is spreading, the burden on the health system or a lack of data on the corona situation.

The classification as a high-risk area is automatically accompanied by a travel warning from the Federal Foreign Office. It makes it easier for tourists to cancel trips that have already been booked free of charge, but does not mean a travel ban. (21.11.2021)

Large corona demo in Vienna

In Austria tens of thousands protested against the impending tightening of the corona. In Vienna, according to the police, around 35,000 people took part in demonstrations against the lockdown and the compulsory vaccination. The protest march paralyzed large parts of the traffic in downtown Vienna on Saturday afternoon. “The mood is heated,” said a police spokesman. Less than ten people were arrested, the police said, among other things for violating corona measures or for violating the ban on Nazi symbols. Some participants threw bottles at the police officers after being watched by the media.

The participants criticized the exit restrictions that came into force on Monday as well as the corona imprint that will apply from 2022 as compulsory measures. “Freedom” was chanted over and over again. Many demonstrators did not wear FFP2 masks and thus violated the requirements. The police were on duty with 1,300 officers.

The right-wing populist party FPÖ, which is skeptical of corona vaccinations, had already planned a demonstration for Saturday when the government decided to take tougher measures against the spread of the corona virus. FPÖ party leader Herbert Kickl commented on the new rules: “As of today, Austria is a dictatorship.” Other vaccination-critical groups had also called for the protests. Kickl himself was unable to take part due to a corona infection. According to information from the Austrian news agency APA, well-known neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremist people mingled with the demonstrators.

In Austria around 66 percent of the population are vaccinated against the coronavirus, which is one of the lowest rates in Western Europe. (20.11.2021)

New infections in Slovakia at record level

9171 new cases of corona infections were added in Slovakia within 24 hours. The authorities announced on Saturday. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of new infections detected was more than 9,000. According to the information, 71 percent of those newly infected were not vaccinated. Almost 3,000 people were treated in the hospital for a corona infection. Slovakia has around 5.5 million inhabitants.

While neighboring countries such as Austria have tightened their corona rules, Slovakia has just withdrawn from measures that have already been decided despite the increasing number of infections. On Friday, the health authorities in Bratislava announced that the 3-G obligation in the workplace would be postponed indefinitely. (20.11.2021)

Protests in Zagreb too

Thousands of people also marched through the Croatian capital Zagreb to protest against their government’s corona measures. They repeatedly called for the resignation of the conservative head of government Andrej Plenković and chanted “No surrender!” An initiative by those opposing vaccinations and measures had called for the rally, and several prominent representatives of right-wing populist and right-wing extremist parties and organizations also took part. In Croatia, the number of corona infections has recently risen sharply. Only 46.5 percent of the population are fully vaccinated. The seven-day incidence per 100,000 population on Saturday was 789. (20.11.2021)

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