Austria limits non-vaccination, for the first time in the EU

Austria will limit unvaccinated people or those who have not recently contracted Covid-19 on Monday, a first in the European Union aimed at preventing a record number of new cases.

“The situation is serious (…). We are not taking this measure lightly, but unfortunately it is necessary,” Chancellor Alexander Schellenberg said at a news conference in Vienna on Sunday.

About 65% of the population in Austria received a full immunization programme, which is lower than the European average of 67% and a far cry from countries such as Spain (79%) or France (75%).

Mr Schellenberg described the rate as “embarrassingly low” when reporting on the containment project on Friday.

Directly, the persons concerned will not have the right to leave their homes except for shopping, sports or medical care. The remedy is applicable from the age of 12 years.

The government said there would be an unannounced investigation of “unprecedented magnitude” in a public place, setting off additional police patrols.

Offenders face a fine of 500 euros, and those who refuse deposit 1,450 euros for inspection.

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schellenberg at a news conference in Vienna on October 11, 2021 (AFP / Archives – Joe Klammer)

The government will assess the impact of these restrictions in 10 days, Health Minister Wolfgang M├╝ckstein said on Sunday, calling for the refractory to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Parliament should approve the measure in the evening, a priori a simple formality.

– “reposter” –

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the chancellor in the afternoon, waving signs saying “not for compulsory vaccination”.

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Restaurants, hotels and hairdressing salons have already banned unaffiliated people.

“I’m here to send a message: We must combat this,” Sarah Hein, a 30-year-old hospital employee, told AFP.

“We want to work, we want to help people, but we don’t want to get vaccinated. That’s up to us to decide.”

“We lock people in good health!” Another protester, refusing to be named, revolted.

The city of Vienna has also made a mark within the European Union by launching a vaccination program for children aged 5 to 11 with Pfizer-BioNTech Serum.

Over 5,000 appointments were booked on Saturday for the first injection to be held on Monday.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is currently reviewing the data and has not yet approved it.

However, member states have the right to use unauthorized products to respond to a “public health” emergency.

Even in Vienna, for people over 25 to attend festive, cultural or sporting events or go out to dinner, you now need to present a PCR test in addition to a vaccination or cure certificate.

The country with 9.8 million residents reported more than 13,000 new cases on Saturday, the most since the start of the pandemic, which killed 11,700 people.

Europe is hit by a new wave of the pandemic that has prompted many countries to reinstate restrictions, such as those in the Netherlands or Norway.

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