Austria is ‘days away’ from detaining millions of unvaccinated people
Austria is just days away from incarcerating millions of people who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said today.
The current infection rate in the country is unprecedented and has put increasing pressure on intensive care units.
Once 30 percent of intensive care beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, people who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be locked up, according to a roadmap agreed by the government in September.
The current level is 20 percent and rising rapidly.
About 65 percent of Austria’s population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the lowest percentage of any Western European country, aside from tiny Liechtenstein, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
“According to the roadmap, we actually only have a few days before we have to introduce the lockdown for unvaccinated people,” Schallenberg told a news conference in the westernmost province of Vorarlberg, adding that the vaccination rate in Austria is “embarrassingly low”.
The current infection rate in Austria is double that of the UK and is higher than the infection rate observed in Britain during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Dutch experts have recommended that their government implement a two-week partial lockdown, which would be the first in Western Europe since vaccines were widely deployed, and German Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz is meeting with ministers today to discuss new measures. to discuss lockdown restrictions.
Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said the nation is just days away from locking millions of people who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as daily infections hit an all-time high.
About 65 percent of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the lowest rate of any western European country, aside from tiny Liechtenstein, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Photo: Man receives vaccine in mobile vaccination station in Vienna)
The conservative-led government said Friday it would ban unvaccinated people from restaurants, theaters, ski lifts and providers of “close to the body services” such as hairdressers.
“A lockdown for the unvaccinated means you can’t leave your home unless you go to work, shop (for essentials), stretch your legs – namely exactly what we all had to endure in 2020,” Schallenberg said, referring to three national lockdowns last year.
Many Austrians are skeptical of vaccinations, a view encouraged by the far-right Freedom Party, the third largest in parliament, while centrist opposition parties accused the government of doing too little for months to increase vaccination rates and control infections. to hold.
Some conservatives have argued that a lockdown for unvaccinated people would be unenforceable, but Schallenberg said police would conduct spot checks to ensure restrictions were being observed.
The rise in Austria comes at a time when Eastern European states, with the continent’s lowest vaccination rates, are experiencing some of the world’s highest daily death tolls per capita.
Dutch experts have recommended that their government implement a two-week partial lockdown, which would be the first in Western Europe since vaccines were widely deployed, while the German health ministry reported today that the one-day number of Covid cases in the country has surpassed 50,000 for the first time as politicians gather to discuss the possibility of winter lockdown measures (Left: Dutch Interim Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Right: German Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz
Meanwhile, Germany’s health ministry reported today that the one-day toll of Covid cases in the country has surpassed 50,000 for the first time as politicians gather to discuss the possibility of winter lockdown measures.
The Robert Koch Institute registered 50,196 new cases this morning, up from 33,949 daily cases a week earlier, just hours after one of the country’s top virologists warned of 100,000 deaths over the winter if no action is taken.
Christian Drosten, of the Charite University Hospital in Berlin, said the country’s vaccination rates must be increased quickly to avoid catastrophe as hospitals cancel routine surgeries to focus on Covid patients.
Olaf Scholz, who is expected to become the country’s next chancellor, said he will hold a meeting of state leaders today to discuss new Covid restrictions.
“What we need now is for the country to contract in one direction,” Scholz said.
“It is very, very important that we take all measures to ensure that we can protect the health of the citizens of our country.”
Germany has fully vaccinated about 67 percent of its population against Covid, about the same percentage as the UK.
However, the country is way behind with its booster shots. The UK offers boosters to anyone aged 50 and over and has delivered 11 million doses to date.
Dutch consider new partial lockdown as coronavirus cases reach record
The Dutch government is considering imposing the first partial lockdown on Western Europe since the summer, as new coronavirus cases have risen to the highest level since the start of the pandemic.
A spate of infections that began when social distancing measures were lifted in late September has put pressure on hospitals across the country, forcing them to scale back regular care to treat COVID-19 patients.
The number of new coronavirus infections in the country of 17.5 million has roughly doubled in the past week, reaching a record high of about 16,300 in 24 hours on Thursday.
To contain the outbreak, the government’s pandemic advisory panel on Thursday recommended imposing a partial lockdown, closing theaters and cinemas, canceling major events and closing cafes and restaurants earlier, broadcaster NOS reported.
The cabinet of interim Prime Minister Mark Rutte will discuss the advice at an emergency meeting tonight and announce the decisions during a televised press conference scheduled for Friday 1800 GMT.
The government often follows the recommendations of the expert panel.
After a partial lockdown lasting about two weeks, during which schools would remain open, access to public places should be restricted to people who have been fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from a coronavirus infection, according to the advice.
The Netherlands has so far given booster shots to a small group of people with a weak immune system. In December, they will be offered to people aged 80 and over, while additional shots will become available for everyone over 60 in due course.
About 85 percent of the adult population in the Netherlands has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Last month, about 56 percent of Dutch COVID-19 patients in hospitals and 70% of those in intensive care were not or only partially vaccinated.
Unvaccinated COVID-19 patients in Dutch hospitals had a median age of 59 years, compared to 77 years for vaccinated patients, data from RIVM shows.
Last week, the Netherlands reintroduced face masks and expanded the list of locations that require a ‘corona pass’ showing vaccination or a negative test result to gain entry.