The Austrian government has signaled that it is moving towards the introduction of a lockdown for unvaccinated people against Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“It is already clear that this winter and Christmas will be uncomfortable for the unvaccinated,’’ Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said in Bregenz on Thursday.
Given the momentum of the fourth wave of Coronavirus infections, it may only be a matter of days before the unvaccinated have to live with strict curfews, Schallenberg added.
He, however, called the vaccination rate of around 65 per cent “shamefully low’’ and again urged Austrians to get a jab immediately.
Meanwhile, the number of new Coronavirus infections in Austria has risen again to a record high, with 11,975 cases recorded within 24 hours, according to the authorities.
The seven-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants climbed to 751, three times the figure in neighbouring Germany.
The situation in clinics and hospitals has worsened, with doctors and nurses calling for stricter measures.
The opposition Social Democrats demanded that booster jabs be administered immediately, after only four months, in order to break the wave of infection.
The government’s crisis management was “a disaster,’’ said party leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner.
A previous attempt by Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein to enforce a regional lockdown for the unvaccinated, at least in the worst affected provinces of Upper Austria and Salzburg, failed due to the resistance of provincial leaders there.
Salzburg’s Premier, Wilfried Haslauer, said that if virologists got their way, people would be locked up in a room.
He said, “Then they would just die of depression or starve or die of thirst.’’
The Federal Government, the regional authorities and experts will discuss possible new measures at a meeting on Friday.