Austria will introduce a general vaccination obligation on 1 February, a first in the European Union. In addition, the whole of Austria will go into lockdown from Monday to reverse the sharp increase in the number of corona infections.
Only supermarkets, drugstores and pharmacies are allowed to remain open; catering and schools will remain closed for at least the next ten days.
People are only allowed to leave home for shopping, exercise, work or a visit to a doctor. This was decided after consultations by the government with the nine federal states, two of which, Salzburg and Upper Austria, had already taken this drastic measure, but until Christmas.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced the “difficult decisions”, referring to the great human suffering “We don’t want a fifth wave”. The lockdown can be extended by ten days. Since Monday, a lockdown has been in effect in the Alpine country for people over the age of 12 who have not been fully vaccinated, on pain of a fine of 1450 euros.
In Austria, about 65 percent of the population has been vaccinated, which the prime minister says is scandalously low. It is the fourth time that the country has gone into lockdown. The states of Salzburg and Upper Austria have the highest infection rates in the country, and hospitals are full of corona patients.