(CMR) Austria will be the first European country to mandate that the entire country receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This mandate which becomes effective February 1, 2022, was announced as the country again enters a nationwide lockdown as Europe grapples with a brutal wave of the coronavirus.
The nationwide lockdown comes days after Austria first imposed a lockdown on the unvaccinated. Austria is also the first western European country to impose widespread restrictions after curbs on unvaccinated people failed to stem a surge in new infections.
From Monday, 8.9 million Austrians will not be allowed to leave home except to go to work, shop for essentials, and exercise. The restrictions will initially last 20 days, with an evaluation after 10 days.
“There are too many among us who haven’t shown solidarity. Raising the vaccination rate is the only way to break this vicious circle,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said.
Germany may also impose harder measures as it also tries to bring the number of COVID-19 cases under control. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government increased pressure on Germans to get inoculated by announcing plans to restrict many leisure activities for the unvaccinated.
“We’re in a situation in which we shouldn’t rule anything out,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
Starting next week, Bavaria, Germany’s state with the highest infection rate, will close clubs and bars. Shops will have to reduce capacity, and restaurants will have to close by 10 p.m.
Meanwhile, thousands took to the streets in Australia and several European countries Saturday as anger mounted over the new COVID-19 restrictions.