Covid: Austrian chancellor threatens lockdown for unvaccinated

Austria's Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg attends a face-to-face European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, October 22, 2021. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool
Austria's Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg attends a face-to-face European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, October 22, 2021. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool

About 65.4% of the total population has received one dose of the vaccine, and 62.2% are fully vaccinated

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Unvaccinated people in Austria could face new lockdown restrictions if coronavirus case numbers continue to rise, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has said.

The news came after a meeting on Friday evening between Mr Schallenberg and state-level leaders to discuss their response to rapidly increasing case numbers.

“The pandemic is not yet in the rear-view mirror,” Mr Schallenberg said. “We are about to stumble into a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Mr Schallenberg announced that if the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units (ICU) reaches 500, or 25% of the country’s total ICU capacity, entry into businesses such as restaurants and hotels will be limited to those who are vaccinated or recovered from the virus.

If the number reaches 600, or one third of total ICU capacity, the government plans to impose restrictions on unvaccinated people.

In this case, they would only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons.

Currently, the number of Covid-19 patients in ICUs stands at 220.

In the past week, Austria has reported 20,408 new cases of the virus, according to health authorities, bringing the seven-day average to 228.5 per 100,000 inhabitants. A week earlier, that figure was at 152.5 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Although Austria’s government has encouraged citizens to get vaccinated, the effort has slowed in recent months.

About 65.4% of the total population has received one dose of the vaccine, and 62.2% are fully vaccinated.