The whole of Austria is going into lockdown again

Police officers on the Christmas market in Innsbruck

The country is drastically tightening the corona measures.

(Photo: dpa)

Vienna Austria is going into a lockdown again due to the corona crisis and will introduce a general vaccination requirement in February. This was announced by Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg on Friday.

The exit restrictions to curb the massively increasing corona figures should initially apply for ten days and then possibly be extended by a further ten days. The lockdown ends on December 12th. This is followed by a lockdown for unvaccinated people.

No one voluntarily takes steps that restrict people’s freedom, said Chancellor Schallenberg. However, the measures taken so far have not been sufficient to limit the infections. He called political forces that opposed Covid vaccinations, an “attack on our health system”. The parties see no alternative to the nationwide compulsory vaccination, which should start on February 1 at the latest.

A legislative process is now to be started. “For a long, maybe too long, I assumed that it was possible to convince people,” said Schallenberg.

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Austria is suffering from a massive fourth corona wave. The seven-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants is 1000. For comparison: In Germany, the seven-day incidence is currently 340.

Schools and kindergartens remain open in lockdown. The FFP-2 mask is valid in all closed rooms, including at the workplace.

A lockdown for unvaccinated people has been in place since Monday. But the measures would not have been enough, said Schallenberg. The number of infections is still well above the high from a year ago, when Austria imposed a nationwide lockdown.

Salzburg and Upper Austria announce lockdown

On Thursday, Salzburg and Upper Austria had already decided to go into a general lockdown on Monday. The two regions are struggling with the highest numbers of infections nationwide and with full clinics.

The incidence per 100,000 inhabitants among the entire Salzburg population recently climbed to over 1700, for Upper Austria the value is almost 1600. The two federal states on the border with Bavaria have the lowest vaccination rates in Austria.

“We don’t have much leeway, not to say: We have very, very little leeway,” argued Upper Austria’s Prime Minister Thomas Stelzer in Linz with regard to the full hospitals. Salzburg’s state chief Wilfried Haslauer said the measures should be lifted until Christmas if possible.

More: “Resilience is required in a crisis” – How Austria’s tourism has to reinvent itself

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