Europe set for fresh lockdowns as COVID cases soar

By Steve Jones
Home » Europe set for fresh lockdowns as COVID cases soar

Unvaccinated Austrians are set to be placed in lockdown under draconian new measures being drawn up by the country’s health officials.

Germany is also tipped to tighten regulations amid soaring COVID infections while the Netherlands is expected to enter a partial three-week lockdown.

The tighter restrictions follow a worrying rise in cases across Europe. The UK is one of only a few countries said to have stable or falling rates of infection.

The Austrian rules for unvaccinated citizens will begin in Upper Austria and Salzburg on Monday according to reports. It was not immediately clear if the restrictions extended to international visitors.

Under the new approach, set to be confirmed over the weekend, those who have yet to be jabbed will have restrictions placed on their daily movements, including bans from restaurants, hotels, hairdressing salons and large public events.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told a news conference: “According to the incremental plan we actually have just days until we have to introduce the lockdown for unvaccinated people.

“I don’t see why two-thirds should lose their freedom because one-third is dithering. For me, it is clear that there should be no lockdown for the vaccinated out of solidarity for the unvaccinated.

“A lockdown for the unvaccinated means one cannot leave one’s home unless one is going to work, shopping [for essentials], stretching one’s legs – namely, exactly what we all had to suffer through in 2020.”

He described Austria’s vaccination rate as ‘shamefully low’.

In Germany, where the Christmas markets are a major attraction, the government’s disease control agency, RKI, called for the cancellation of major events.

Its health minister said the country faced a ‘bitter winter’ without the introduction of immediate measures.

The RKI said the fourth COVID wave was ‘rolling on full power’.

Meanwhile, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is said to be on the verge of declaring new restrictions for shops, sport and catering.

Reports said the measures would start on Saturday.

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