Austria announces fourth lockdown as Europe becomes Covid-19 epicenter again

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VIENNA – Austria announced to impose a nationwide lockdown – fourth since the pandemic erupted – to control the surge of Covid-19 cases as Europe hit with a brutal wave of the pandemic.

The widespread restriction will come into effect from Monday for at least 20 days, announced health authorities.

Austria will become the first western European country to impose the lockdown after curbs for unvaccinated people could not yield desired results. It will also become the first country in Europe to declare the Covid-19 vaccination mandatory.

“There are too many among us who haven’t shown solidarity,” Bloomberg quoted Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg  as saying.

The chancellor was speaking to media in Tyrol after meeting with provincial governors. “Raising the vaccination rate is the only way to break this vicious circle.”

The latest lockdown will remain in place even after the 20 days for people who are reluctant to receive coronavirus vaccine.

Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein has apologised to the nation for the strict decision.

Compulsory vaccination will fall under Austrian administrative rather than criminal law, according to Schallenberg, who said that lawyers have yet to reveal the details.

European countries particularly Austria and Germany are facing stern wave of the pandemic due to low vaccination rates.

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