Austria to enter national COVID lockdown
Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said Friday that the country will enter a national lockdown beginning Monday that will last at least 10 days in an attempt to head off a fourth wave of coronavirus cases.
Why it matters: It's the first European country to re-enter a lockdown since the spring. Cases in the country have started to rise in part because of deep skepticism among many Austrians about vaccines.
By the numbers: The country has reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases over the past seven days, which has overwhelmed hospitals, according to AP.
- Only around 65% of the population of 8.9 million are fully vaccinated.
What they're saying: "We have not succeeded in convincing enough people to get vaccinated," Schallenberg said, according to a translation from Reuters. "It hurts that such measures still have to be taken."
- "Too many among us have not shown enough solidarity. I ask you all to help. Take part, support these measures, let us try to reduce our social contacts for a maximum of 20 days so that the Christmas holidays are protected," he added.
The big picture: The country initially started a lockdown for people who are not fully vaccinated this week, though cases continued to rise.
- During the lockdown starting Monday, all schools and most stores will be closed and all cultural events will be canceled.
- The government also announced that it will make vaccinations mandatory starting Feb. 1, according to AP.
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