The Austrian government is meeting over the weekend with the intent of imposing a nationwide lockdown on unvaccinated citizens, and at least two provinces are slated to be under such orders starting Monday.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said Friday that he and regional leaders would get together on Sunday to discuss the plans, and that “The aim is very clear: that we give the green light this Sunday for a nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated,” the Associated Press reported.
Regardless of whether the federal government approves the lockdown for the unvaccinated to apply to the entire country, unvaccinated residents in the provinces of Upper Austria and Salzburg will be under lockdown beginning Monday and will only be allowed to leave their homes for necessities such as buying groceries or going to doctor’s appointments.
Unvaccinated Austrians are already banned from going to events that have 25 or more attendees, and have also been prohibited from going to hairdressers or most restaurants under rules that went into effect this week.
Roughly 65% of Austrians are vaccinated for COVID-19, which is the same average for the population of the entire European Economic Area according to European Union data, Reuters reported.
The outlet reported that “Europe has become the epicenter of the pandemic again, prompting some governments to consider re-imposing unpopular lockdowns in the run-up to Christmas and stirring debate over whether vaccines alone are enough to tame COVID-19.”