The Austrian government announced this Friday that the country will return to the general confinement regime from next Monday, given the increase in the number of cases of infection by the new coronavirus.
“The population will have to respect new restrictions for 20 days, because many did not show solidarity. I ask you to follow the measures and reduce contacts”, said the chancellor of the European country, Alexander Schallenberg, after meeting with governors in which the decision released today.
The head of government also announced that vaccination against Covid-19 will become mandatory in the Austrian territory from February 2022, in a context where only 65% of the population has completed the immunization scheme, one of the highest rates. Western European casualties.
With that, Austria became the first country that integrates the European Union (EU) to adopt mandatory vaccination for the entire population, with imposition of sanctions for people who fail to comply with the determination.
Currently, the country has one of the highest infection rates on the continent, with nearly 1,000 cases of infection for every 100,000 people in the last seven days, according to official data.
“Despite months of insistence, despite all the media campaigns, despite everything, we have not managed to convince people to get vaccinated,” Schallenberg lamented.
The conservative politician was openly critical of Austrian political currents that oppose the immunization process, such as the right-wing FPÖ party. “An attack on the health system,” said the Austrian chancellor.
The decisions announced today by the federal government were taken based on a consensus with regional authorities, in a meeting that ended this morning.
Doctors and other experts had been calling for tougher measures in the country after hospitals in two of the worst-affected regions, Salzburg and Upper Austria, came close to collapsing.
FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl, who is in quarantine for testing positive for Covid-19, used social media to criticize mandatory vaccination and ensured that with it Austria becomes “a dictatorship”. The party even called a demonstration against the measure for tomorrow.
The confinement that will take effect from Monday is the fourth decreed in the country since the beginning of the pandemic. People will only be able to leave their homes to perform certain tasks, such as going to doctors, helping other people, exercising outdoors.
Commercial establishments considered non-essential, such as restaurants, gyms, other entertainment and leisure venues will be closed. Supermarkets and pharmacies, in turn, will work. Unlike what happened in other confinements, day care centers and schools will not have suspended activities. In addition, the use of masks will be mandatory in all enclosed spaces.
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