The Austrian government ordered a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people starting Monday to slow the fast spread of the coronavirus in the country.
The move prohibits unvaccinated individuals over the age of 12 from leaving their homes except for basic activities such as working, grocery shopping, going for a walk — or getting vaccinated.
Authorities are concerned that hospital staff will no longer be able to handle the growing influx of COVID-19 patients.
“It’s our job as the government of Austria to protect the people,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told reporters in Vienna on Sunday. “Therefore we decided that starting Monday … there will be a lockdown for the unvaccinated.”
Lockdown to last 10 days
The lockdown affects about two million people in the Alpine country of 8.9 million people, news agency APA reported. It doesn’t apply to children under the age of 12 because they cannot yet officially get vaccinated.
The lockdown will initially last for 10 days and police have been asked to check people outside to make sure they are vaccinated, Schallenberg said.
Austria has one of the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe — only around 65 per cent of the total population is fully vaccinated. In recent weeks, the country has faced a worrying trend in infections. The country reported 11,552 new cases on Sunday; a week ago there were 8,554 new infections.
The seven-day infection rate stands at 775.5 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In comparison, the rate is at 289 in neighbouring Germany, which has already also sounded the alarm over the rising numbers.
What’s happening across Canada
Manitoba will soon impose new rules for children in recreational sports to guard against the spread of COVID-19. Starting Dec. 6, those aged 12 to 17 will be required to have proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose or a negative test result before playing indoor sports.
As of Saturday, religious services in the province’s Southern Health region that don’t require proof of vaccination were limited to having only 25 people attend.
Manitoba and Saskatchewan currently stand as two of Canada’s COVID-19 hot spots, the most recent government of Canada daily epidemiology update suggests.
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What’s happening around the world
WATCH | WHO chief says COVID-19 surging even in European countries with high vaccination rates:
As of Sunday morning, more than 253 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the global database maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5 million.
In Europe, protests broke out in the northern Dutch city of Leeuwarden Saturday night as a new lockdown imposed amid soaring infections forced bars and restaurants to close at 8 p.m. local time.
Video showed some protesters setting off fireworks and holding flares billowing smoke. Dutch broadcaster NOS reported that riot police later moved in to push the protesters off the square.
Nearly 85 per cent of the Dutch adult population is fully vaccinated, but on Thursday the country’s public health institute recorded 16,364 new positive tests in 24 hours — the highest number of any time during the pandemic that has killed more than 18,600 people in the Netherlands.
In Asia, Cambodia will stop requiring quarantine for travellers who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 starting on Monday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday.
Hun Sen said travellers will have to show a negative test result 72 hours prior to travel and have two vaccine doses. Those who are unvaccinated will be quarantined for 14 days.
Cambodia has vaccinated nearly 90 per cent of its more than 16 million people, one of Asia’s highest inoculation rates.
Meanwhile in South Korea, the head coach of the women’s national soccer team has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, the sport’s national federation said on Saturday. Colin Bell had tested positive last week after the team returned from the U.S. where they had played two matches last month, news agency Yonhap reported.
In the Americas, the United States administered over 9.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the past seven days, the highest weekly total since late May, the White House’s COVID-19 data director said on Saturday. Vaccinations of children ages five to 11, which became widely available this week, likely contributed to the total.
Saturday just in: +1.68M doses reported administered over yesterday’s total, including 551K newly vaccinated and 911K additional doses/boosters. Over 9.5M doses reported administered in the past 7 days, highest weekly total since late-May! Keep it going! 🇺🇸