Austria Reintroduces Strict Lockdown––But Only for the Unvaccinated

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A view of the town of Kitzbüle, Austria. Image courtesy of Tourist Destinations.

As covid-19 cases surge, parts of Austria have returned to strict lockdowns––but controversially, only for the unvaccinated.

Beginning today, Salzburg and Upper Austria have introduced lockdowns for unvaccinated citizens. The lockdown is initially expected to last for ten days. As with previous lockdowns, they won’t be able to leave their homes, except for essential reasons like going to work, buying food, or exercising. There are twenty ski resorts in Upper Austria and 65 in Salzburg.

Police prescence will be increased to enforce the rules, and anybody found violating the lockdown will be fined up to €1,450, or $1,660.

Fully vaccinated citizens can continue life as normal, which includes visiting ski areas and boarding ski lifts.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has warned they will ban the unvaccinated from restaurants, theatres, ski lifts, and providers of “services close to the body” like hairdressers.

Austria has reported 716 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven-day period. Cases among other European ski nations are much lower: Switzerland has 225, France 94, and Italy 72.

It’s likely that the lockdown for the unvaccinated will be extended nationwide.

“Our aim is clear: we want to give the green light for a nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated.”

– Austrian chancellor, Alexander Schallenberg

63% of the Austrian population are fully vaccinated, the second lowest in Europe, compared to 80% in Spain, 72% in Italy, 69% in France, and 65% in Switzerland.

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