Covid in Austria: Nationwide Lockdown for Unvaccinated Effective Immediately

More+More+ ♦ Published: November 14, 2021; 17:22 ♦ Updated: November 14; 22:30 ♦ (Vindobona)

Due to the low vaccination rate of about 65 percent and the exploding new infections, a lockdown for the unvaccinated is being imposed in Austria in the fight against the fourth Corona wave. The new rule has been in effect since midnight of Sunday to Monday. The measure will be monitored very consistently, and violations will be punished accordingly. About two million people are affected.

Chancellor Schallenberg: "Nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated". / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Florian Schrötter

"The Corona situation in Austria is serious and, like a whole series of other European countries, a fourth wave is just hitting us in full force. The number of new infections in Austria is higher than it has ever been before. On the one hand, this is due to the significantly more contagious delta variant, but on the other hand, unfortunately, it is also due to a vaccination rate that is far too low," said Chancellor Schallenberg at a press conference.

Those who have not been vaccinated may then only leave the house or apartment for urgent reasons, such as shopping for daily needs, going to work or visiting the doctor.

"While the incidence among vaccinated people is declining and is about 383 in the 18-50 age group, it continues to rise exponentially among unvaccinated people and is over 1,700 in the 18-59 age group. That's a veritable difference between these groups. Therefore, we (i.e. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, Minister of Health Wolfgang Mückstein, Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer and the heads of government of the federal states) have decided today that as of Monday, November 15 00:00, a lockdown for unvaccinated people will apply in Austria. This means exit restrictions for all persons over the age of 12," said the head of government. The private living area may thus only be left in exceptional cases.

2G rule in retail is coming

In the future, the 2G rule will apply to retail that goes beyond basic supplies. The visit of clothing and sports stores, furniture stores or other stores would then no longer be permitted for unvaccinated persons. "We are thus accelerating as a federal government, together with the provincial governors, the jointly developed step-by-step plan and bringing forward the fifth step. We do not take this step lightly, but unfortunately it is necessary," Alexander Schallenberg emphasized. However, the steps set by the federal government are only the lower edge of the measures; the federal states are of course free to set further measures selectively.

Vaccinated people: 70 percent lower risk of infection and 95 percent lower risk of severe progression

"We all know that the risk to which unvaccinated people are exposed is many times higher. Vaccinated people are 70 percent less likely to become infected and have up to 95 percent lower risk of a severe course. These numbers simply speak for themselves. That's why we feel compelled to take this drastic and difficult step in order to minimize contact between the protected in the population and the unvaccinated, but also between all the unvaccinated," says Schallenberg.

Measures will be monitored very rigorously

What is crucial now, he said, is that the measures are not only adhered to, but also very clearly controlled. "There will be very consistent control and also sanctions. I thank all police officers very much for their commitment."

Third vaccination can interrupt wave - support for medical staff

"To push the incidence numbers down, we all urgently need vaccination. We need the first, second and third pricks. In Israel, it has been seen impressively that if you vaccinate into the fourth wave, it is immediately interrupted. The numbers and graphs in Israel show it clearly, how the infections go down there. And we must succeed in doing this in Austria as well, otherwise we will never escape this vicious circle," the chancellor stressed. "We can thus minimize the risk of infection and help break this fourth wave. Each of us has it in our hands to protect ourselves and others," Schallenberg affirmed.

He added that vaccination is also about "support and solidarity with healthcare workers." "People in the health sector have been doing a superhuman job for 18 months," Schallenberg said.

However, with the current low vaccination rate in Austria, the way out of the pandemic will not succeed, he said. "The only way to break this vicious circle of the pandemic is and remains vaccination," the Chancellor concluded by appealing once again to get vaccinated.

The far-reaching exit restrictions are initially limited to ten days.

Federal Chancellery of Austria