Austria Covid: Nationwide vaccine mandate announced, lockdown reimposed

Schallenberg stated his authorities would look to impose the nationwide vaccine requirement from February 1. Just beneath 66% of Austria’s whole inhabitants is totally vaccinated towards Covid-19, one of many decrease charges within the European Union, the place circumstances are surging.
The nationwide lockdown — the primary in Europe this fall — begins Monday and can final for 10 days minimal, and might be prolonged for an extra 10 days, Schallenberg informed reporters at a information convention 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 stated.

Under these measures, which got here into power on November 15, the unvaccinated had been ordered to remain at residence aside from just a few restricted causes, with the principles policed by officers finishing up spot checks on those that had been out and about. Vaccinations are at the moment advisable for everybody aged 12 and above in Austria. On Monday, a pilot scheme to vaccinate youngsters aged 5 to 11 obtained beneath approach in Vienna, the nationwide capital.

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Austria to impose Covid lockdown for the unvaccinated age 12 and older
Asked by CNN from what age the necessary vaccination order would apply, the Austrian Chancellory stated: “Details are still to come, from what age and when you are considered fully vaccinated.” Austrian Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein stated Friday that colleges and kindergartens would stay open throughout the upcoming nationwide lockdown. But Schallenberg stated it was attainable for folks to take their youngsters out of faculty in the event that they so wished. “This is always a challenge, for every family,” he stated. During the primary Austrian lockdown, colleges and kindergartens had been closed. Mückstein additionally urged the sporting of FFP2 masks in all enclosed areas and stated staff may request the choice of working from residence the place attainable. Once the nationwide lockdown is lifted, lockdown measures will stay in place for unvaccinated Austrians, Mückstein stated, including that all the pieces wanted to be executed to keep away from a “fifth wave.” Schallenberg had harsh phrases for anti-vaccination activists as he addressed the information convention Friday, saying that they had acted irresponsibly. “We have too many political forces in this country that are fighting against this [vaccination] vehemently, massively and publicly. That is irresponsible. This is actually an attack on our health care system,” he stated. “And incited by these radical opponents of vaccination, by specious fake news, unfortunately too many of us have not been vaccinated. The consequence is overcrowded intensive care units and enormous human suffering.” Once it goes into impact in February, Austria’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate would be the most stringent measure to manage the coronavirus via vaccination but seen in Europe. In Italy, all staff are required to have a “green pass” — a well being certificates that reveals proof of both full vaccination, current restoration from an infection or a destructive take a look at inside the earlier 48 hours — or threat a positive and suspension with out pay. People should additionally present their “green pass” to enter public locations like theaters and cinemas. However, solely well being care staff are required to be vaccinated. Italy’s authorities has credited the “green pass” technique with boosting vaccination charges.

Germany's Covid cases hit record high with Merkel warning of 'dramatic' situation

Neighboring Germany additionally introduced plans Thursday to introduce focused Covid-19 restrictions on the unvaccinated with the intention to sort out document ranges of infections amid its fourth wave of the pandemic. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel described the nation’s Covid-19 state of affairs as ”dramatic” and ”very worrying” at a information convention Thursday, following a gathering with Germany’s 16 federal state leaders on stricter Covid-19 measures. Merkel warned that intensive care unit beds had been filling up a lot too rapidly, including it was ”excessive time to take motion.” Speaking Friday at a information convention in Berlin, appearing Health Minister Jens Spahn described Germany as being “in a national emergency,” including “we will not break this wave with vaccinations alone.” Asked about the potential for a lockdown for everybody, Spahn informed reporters ”we’re in a state of affairs the place we can not rule something out.” Lothar Wieler, head of Germany’s illness and management heart, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), informed reporters the nation had by no means seen such excessive charges of an infection as now in the entire of the pandemic. For a twelfth day in a row, Germany has reported document new Covid-19 circumstances. The RKI on Friday reported 52,970 new circumstances inside the previous 24 hours. More than 98,000 folks have died on account of coronavirus in Germany, in keeping with RKI knowledge. The nation’s present every day demise fee stands between 200 and 300, Wieler stated. However, as a result of Germany’s document stage of infections over the previous 12 days, “the death rate is likely to increase over the coming days,” he stated. France can be experiencing an increase in Covid-19 an infection charges, however French President Emmanuel Macron has stated a lockdown of the unvaccinated is “not necessary” given the nation’s Covid-19 technique. “The countries who are locking down the unvaccinated are those who don’t have the ‘health pass’ in place,” Macron stated, in an interview with French newspaper La Voix du Nord revealed late Thursday. France’s “health pass” confirms the bearer’s vaccination standing or proof of a destructive Covid take a look at and has ruled entry to all kinds of institutions in France since its introduction in July.

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Ireland, which has one in all Europe’s highest vaccination charges, with 89.1% of individuals over the age of 12 having been immunized, imposed a midnight curfew on bars, eating places and nightclubs from Thursday because the nation faces a recent wave of Covid-19 infections.

CNN’s Joseph Ataman contributed to this report.

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