Austria is the first country in the world to start a lockdown for unvaccinated

Since midnight, Austria has been under lockdown for unvaccinated inhabitants. Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg and federal state leaders agreed last week to implement the severe action. Residents over the age of 12 who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus are only permitted to leave their house to conduct necessary shopping, go to work, visit a doctor, or get some fresh air. Austrian police will also keep a close eye on residents. Violations of the measures are punishable by penalties of up to 30,000 euros.

The lockdown for vaccine refusers will last ten days. Nearly two million of the nine million inhabitants are affected by the measure. Chancellor Schallenberg also announced that the federal states themselves might adopt even stricter measures. The capital Vienna has already announced additional measures. For example, vaccinated and cured citizens have to submit a PCR test to go to a restaurant in the evening and to attend events with more than 25 people.

The lockdown does not apply to school children. “Everything at school will remain the same,” said Schallenberg. The chancellor hopes the lockdown will increase vaccination rates in the country. Currently, about 65 percent of the Austrian population is fully vaccinated.

“Virus Police”

The newspaper Kronen Zeitung speaks of a return of the “virus police”. “Checks can take place at any time, no matter where or when. All citizens should know that they are being watched,” Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer emphasized.

Anyone who ignores the corona measures in the country will be severely punished. For example, people who do not cooperate with an inspection have to cough up 1,450 euros. Violations of the 2G rule (vaccinated or cured) or the 3G rule in the workplace (vaccinated, cured, or tested) are subject to fines ranging from 500 to 3,600 euros.

Organizers of illegal parties or events are punished the most, they risk a fine of no less than 30,000 euros. Agents can request the corona passport at any time, for example, during a traffic control.

On Sunday, many Austrians gathered at the Federal Chancellery in the capital Vienna to protest against the new measure.

Austrians protest against the new measure at the Federal Chancellery in Vienna.
Austrians protest against the new measure at the Federal Chancellery in Vienna. ©AFP

Curfew

The Austrian government is now considering a general curfew that would apply to everyone. A decision on that will be made on Wednesday. Austrian Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein announced this on Sunday evening to the ORF channel.

A few days ago, the country introduced stricter rules for unvaccinated people. Since Monday last week, only vaccinated or cured corona patients have been allowed in cafes, restaurants, hairdressers, and events with more than 25 people.

Moreover, negative tests no longer count as an admission ticket, which is the essence of the so-called 2G policy. From December 6, the ‘Green Pass’ validity will also be shortened to 270 days after the second vaccination. Anyone who has been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will need a second vaccination from January 3, 2022, to obtain a valid certificate.

Austria has registered more than 10,000 new infections per day in recent days. A total of 11,706 people have already died in the country as a result of the coronavirus.

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