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Austria locks down as Germany moves to restrict unvaccinated

Baku, November 19, AZERTAC

Austria is to impose a general lockdown from Monday (November 22), becoming the first EU country to take such a measure in the face of the COVID-19 resurgence, according to Euronews.

Conservative Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has also said that vaccination will become compulsory from February 1.

The announcement comes a few days after the country implemented a nationwide lockdown for people who are unvaccinated, which came into force last Monday (November 15).

People 12 years and older are banned from going outside except for essential activities such as work, attending classes, grocery shopping, or for a walk. The number of police patrols has been increased and those found breaking the rules can be fined up to €1,450.

"In the long term, the way out of this vicious circle we are in — and it is a vicious circle, we are stumbling from wave to lockdown, and that can't carry on ad infinitum — is only vaccination," Schallenberg said earlier this week.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), just over 64% of the population was fully vaccinated by November 19, slightly below the EU average (65.5%). Coronavirus cases have continued to rise, hitting a daily total of 15,000 on Thursday.

Authorities in Austria said on November 17 that travellers would need to show a negative PCR test upon entering the country. Previously, results from the cheaper lateral flow tests were allowed.

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