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Austria announces Europe’s first nationwide vaccine mandate and reimposes lockdown as Covid-19 soars

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Austria announces Europe’s first nationwide vaccine mandate and reimposes lockdown as Covid-19 soars

Austria is going back into a national lockdown and plans to become the first country in Europe to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for all eligible people as the nation’s coronavirus crisis deepens, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced Friday.

Schallenberg said his government would look to impose the national vaccine requirement from February 1. Just under 66% of Austria’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, one of the lower rates in the European Union, where cases are surging.
The national lockdown — the first in Europe this fall — starts Monday and will last for 10 days minimum, and could be extended for a further 10 days, Schallenberg told reporters at a news conference in Vienna.
“We don’t want a fifth wave. We don’t want a sixth and seventh wave. We don’t want to have this discussion next summer,” Schallenberg said.
A health worker collects a swab sample at a Covid-19 testing station on November 8, 2021 in Innsbruck, Austria.
A health worker collects a swab sample at a Covid-19 testing station on November 8, 2021 in Innsbruck, Austria.
The move comes only days after Austria took the step, unprecedented in Europe, of imposing lockdown measures for all those age 12 and older who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Under those measures, which came into force on November 15, the unvaccinated were ordered to stay at home except for a few limited reasons, with the rules policed by officers carrying out spot checks on those who were out and about.
Vaccinations are currently recommended for everyone aged 12 and above in Austria. On Monday, a pilot scheme to vaccinate children aged five to 11 got under way in Vienna, the national capital.
Austria to impose Covid lockdown for the unvaccinated age 12 and older

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