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Austria to impose Covid lockdown for the unvaccinated aged 12 and older

Austria is placing millions of people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in lockdown as of Monday to deal with the infections.

EU and AstraZeneca settle vaccine supply dispute
The EU was furious when supply issues undermined the early stages of its vaccine rollout - Copyright AFP Aamir QURESHI
The EU was furious when supply issues undermined the early stages of its vaccine rollout - Copyright AFP Aamir QURESHI

Austria is placing millions of people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in lockdown as of Monday to deal with a surge in infections to record levels and the growing strain on intensive-care units, the government said on Sunday.

According to CNN, about 65 percent of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lower rates in the European Union where cases are surging.

Austria now has one of the continent’s highest rates of infection, with a seven-day incidence rate of 815 per 100,000 people. Authorities are concerned that hospitals will no longer be able to handle the influx of patients.

The Alpine country reported 11,552 new cases on Sunday; a week ago there were 8,554 new infections.

The World Health Organization’s report for the week ending Nov. 7 showed that Europe, including Russia, was the only region to record a rise in cases, up 7 percent, while other areas reported declines or stable trends.

“It’s our job as the government of Austria to protect the people,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told reporters in Vienna on Sunday. “Therefore we decided that starting Monday … there will be a lockdown for the unvaccinated.”

Austria has a population of nearly 8.9 million people, and the lockdown will affect about 2 million people who are unvaccinated. It doesn’t apply to children under the age of 12 because they cannot yet officially get vaccinated.

The lockdown will last 10 days and could be extended. Police have been asked to check people outside to make sure they are vaccinated, Schallenberg said.

A three-week partial lockdown was announced in the Netherlands on Friday evening, Reuters reported, with health officials recording a rapid rise in cases there.

Norway also announced new measures on Friday, while people in the German capital Berlin are preparing for fresh restrictions that come into place on Monday.

And in Russia, a new daily record of COVID-19 deaths has been reached with 1,241 registered in the previous 24 hours, the country’s coronavirus task force said on Saturday.

Russia has seen a total of 254,167 deaths from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

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