Austria is putting millions of people who have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in lockdown starting Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, Reuters reported.
A surge in new infections to record levels has led to this latest drastic measure announced by Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg on Sunday.
"We must raise the vaccination rate. It is shamefully low," Schallenberg said during a news conference announcing the new measure, following discussions with the governors of Austria's nine provinces.
About 65 per cent of Austria's population is fully vaccinated.
It is one of the lowest rates in western Europe.
Vaccine-sceptics in Austria are prevalent.
The far-right Freedom Party, the third biggest in parliament, has encouraged people not to be vaccinated.
Covid-19 cases has resurged again in Europe as it has become the epicentre of the pandemic again.
The unvaccinated can only leave their homes for a limited number of reasons like going to work or shopping for essentials, Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein told the news conference.
The new lockdown would initially last 10 days, he said.
Those aged 12 and under will be exempt from the lockdown.
European governments are considering re-imposing unpopular lockdowns.
Austria's imposition of restrictions on those not fully vaccinated is seen as more draconian than the Netherlands, which is imposing a partial lockdown that applies to all.
Enforcement might be a problem, as Austrian officials have expressed doubts that a portion of the population can be prevented from going out and about.
But Schallenberg and Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said there will be thorough checks by the police.
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