Austria will impose a lockdown for all and make vaccinations mandatory, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced on Friday, making the country the first in the EU to take such stringent measures as coronavirus cases spiral.
The Alpine nation plans to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory from Feb 1 next year, while 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 in the western Tyrol state, where he met regional government heads.
He blamed those refusing to be vaccinated for an “attack on the health system”.
The lockdown means people are no longer allowed to leave their houses with few exceptions such shopping for essentials and exercising.
At the beginning of this week, Austria already began a lockdown for those not vaccinated or recently cured, becoming the first EU country to do so.
But infections have continued to rise. On Thursday, a new record of more than 15,000 new cases were recorded in the Alpine EU member of nearly nine million people.
Demand for vaccinations has increased in recent days, and 66% of the population are now fully jabbed, slightly below the EU average of more than 67%.
Other European countries are also tightening the restrictions as cases surge across the continent.
Hungary, which neighbours Austria, is making wearing masks indoors again compulsory from Saturday, the government said Thursday.