As the first country in Europe, Austria will introduce mandatory vaccination against coronavirus from February. Even before this happens, the lockdown for the unvaccinated will cease, despite rising infection rates.
Austria will not extend the lockdown for the unvaccinated
The lockdown for the unvaccinated, which had been in place in Austria for weeks, will end on Monday. As Chancellor Karl Nehammer said before the cabinet meeting, despite the rising number of new infections, the situation in hospitals is stable and there is no imminent threat of overloading intensive care units. According to Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein, the measure worked at Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but now the expert team set up to fight the pandemic does not consider it advisable to continue using it.
Since November 15, unvaccinated people in Austria have only been allowed to leave their homes for a few reasons, for example to go to work or do necessary shopping. De facto, however, not much will change for the unvaccinated, as compliance was actually unchecked, and moreover the restrictions are still in place.
The peak of the wave of Omicron variant infections in Austria expected in about 14 days
For example, a certificate proving vaccination or recovery status is still required to be presented at catering establishments, stores and events. Currently, less than 200 beds are occupied in intensive care units across the country. However, the number of new infections has recently increased for the first time to more than 30,000 cases per day.
The health minister expects the number of positive coronavirus tests to rise to 40,000 per day in the next two weeks. According to him, the peak of the wave of Omicron variant infections will occur in about 14 days. To combat the pandemic and prepare for future waves of infection, Austria will become the first country in Europe to introduce universal vaccination from February. The government’s plan received broad support among parliamentarians last week. Even the majority of the opposition voted in favor of mandatory vaccinations for people over the age of 18. From mid-March, those not vaccinated will face fines for failing to comply.