Austria is imposing a new national blockade since Monday on people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus or recently recovered from the disease, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced Sunday.
Those affected will be told to stay at home except for essential trips such as work or shopping. The decision is expected to impact approximately 2 million people out of a population of 9 million.
The decision comes as the country grapples with its highest infection rates since the start of the pandemic. On Saturday, Austria reported over 13,000 new cases. In the meantime, it is vaccination rate at 63 per cent it is below the EU average and far behind countries like Portugal, Malta and Spain which are above 80 per cent.
“We need to increase the vaccination quota,” said Schallenberg, “help us break this fourth wave.”
Speaking at the same press conference, Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein said the measures are necessary to ease the pressure on health services. “We all have one goal: to protect intensive care units,” he said.
The national bloc follows a decision on Friday in impose restrictions for the unvaccinated in the Upper Austria region