Starting from Monday, unvaccinated people in Austria will be placed under a lockdown in an effort to stop the further spread of Covid-19, the government announced.
“We have decided with a heavy heart to take this step,” Xinhua news agency quoted Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg as saying after a cabinet meeting on Sunday.
According to Schallenberg, unvaccinated individuals above the age of 12 will be prohibited from leaving their homes except for basic activities such as working, shopping or doing exercises, while those under 12 will not be affected.
The lockdown, currently limited to 10 days, is expected to affect 2 million Austrians in the country of 8.9 million people, and the police have been asked to check people outside to make sure they are vaccinated against the virus, Schallenberg said.
“Now we have to do everything we can to raise the embarrassingly low vaccination rate. With the vaccination rate we have now, we will never get out of the vicious circle,” Schallenberg said.
In Austria, 65 per cent of citizens are currently fully vaccinated, and such a vaccination rate is among the lowest in Western European countries.
Austria recorded 11,552 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, following a record high of 13,152 infections registered the previous day.
With the new cases, the country’s overall infection tally has increased to 959,652.
Since the onset of the pandemic early last year, at least 11,706 people have died.