Austria’s conservative-green coalition has tried in the past two weeks to prevent the health system from collapsing by first showing citizens a vaccination or recovery certificate in restaurants and bars and then one “Lockdown for the unvaccinated”.
Austria is now going into its third nationwide lockdown for at least ten days from Monday and will make vaccinations mandatory for society as a whole from February next year.
The new national lockdown is set to last until December 12, but could be reassessed after ten days if the pandemic situation has improved. Schools are to remain open, but children can switch to distance learning mode without a doctor’s certificate.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, who has only been in office a month, said tightening of vaccination records and testing requirements had started to make a difference, but “hasn’t convinced enough” people to get vaccinated.
The lockout rules would end for those vaccinated after December 12th, but would apply to those who refuse to be vaccinated.
“Nobody wants a lockdown, that’s a crude tool,” said Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein. “But it is the most effective tool that we have at our disposal”.
The Greens politician said constitutional lawyers are currently examining the general vaccination mandate, which the government plans to come into force on February 1, 2022.
The Alpine republic is currently surviving the strongest wave of the Covid-19 virus to date, with the authorities reporting an incidence rate of 990 cases per 100,000 over seven days on Friday.