Lockdowns are back in Europe, which is grappling with surging COVID cases.
Austria has become the first nation in western Europe to reimpose a full lockdown, as was announced by Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg on Friday. It also plans to make vaccinations mandatory from February 1 next year.
“The lockdown will start from Monday and will be evaluated after 10 days,” Schallenberg said.
“Despite months of persuasion, we have not succeeded in convincing enough people to get vaccinated,” Schallenberg told a press conference, according to media reports. He blamed those refusing to be vaccinated for an “attack on the health system”.
Earlier this week, Austria had imposed a lockdown for the unvaccinated, but on Thursday, the nation set a record of more than 15,000 new COVID cases among nearly nine million people in the country.
As much as 66 per cent of the Austrian population is now fully jabbed, slightly below the EU average of more than 67 per cent.
Other European countries such as Hungary and Netherlands are also tightening rules amid a surge in cases. Hungary announced on Thursday that wearing masks indoors was compulsory from Saturday.
The Netherland also reimposed a partial lockdown recently while new infections jumped to their highest level on record on Thursday, as they topped 20,000 for the third day in a row.