New lockdown restrictions for Austria’s unvaccinated population are likely to be due to the rapid increase in reports of new coronavirus cases in the country, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said Thursday.
While such restrictions would be a “very tough measure”, they appear to be necessary and “probably inevitable,” the Chancellor told one Press conference on Thursday.
The Austrian National Health Agency reported an average of 760 coronavirus cases per day for every 100,000 people in the past week, a rate that has more than doubled since the end of October.
So far, around 64 percent of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, a larger share than the United States or Austria’s neighbors to the east, but less than most Western European nations. according to government data collected by the Our World in Data project.
The Austrian government said last week that it would ban people who are not fully vaccinated from entering places such as restaurants and hairdressers; that provision went into effect on Monday. A lockdown like the one Mr. Schallenberg warned about would be much more restrictive.
“The situation in Austria and other European countries is dire,” Schallenberg said in a declaration, noting that hospital intensive care units were filling up faster than expected.
The Chancellor has long spoken of the image spoken in Austria. “We are about to run into an unvaccinated pandemic,” he said The Associated Press last month.
On Friday, at a press conference following a meeting with the state governors, Mr. Schallenberg urged the Austrians to be injected.
“With a vaccination, we protect not only ourselves but also our friends, family and colleagues,” he said, adding, “It is simply our responsibility to protect the people of our country.”