COVID-19: Austrian government orders closure of non-vaccinators

The Austrian chancellor announced that people who are not vaccinated or who have not recently recovered from COVID-19 will have to close from midnight.

“The situation is serious,” Alexander Schallenberg said, adding that the measure was unfortunately “necessary”.

He stressed that the infection rate among the unvaccinated was much higher than the rate of infection with the vaccine, reaching about 1,700 new cases per 100,000 people.

Random checks will be conducted to ensure residents are following the procedure which will be re-evaluated within 10 days. Applicable to persons over 12 years of age who are not immunized.

Fines for breaching the measure can be up to 1,450 euros, according to the DPA.

This measure is being put in place as the country reports record high cases of COVID-19. More than 13,000 new cases were reported on Saturday.

About 65% of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated, which is lower than the European average. Schallenberg said Friday that the country’s vaccination rate is “shamefully low”.

Austria has already increased restrictions on unvaccinated people this month, as people need to be vaccinated or recover from a COVID-19 infection for a range of activities.

Vaccines are currently available to those over the age of 12, but in the midst of a crisis, The city of Vienna will begin to vaccinate Children between 5 and 11 years old.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is still being evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for this age group, but the city will develop a pilot project to vaccinate 200 children per day.

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