Austria imposed a COVID-19 lockdown for unvaccinated people only

A man gets a coronavirus vaccine
A patient gets a coronavirus vaccine in Vienna, Austria.
  • Unvaccinated people in Austria can only leave home for essential reasons from Monday.
  • The chancellor said the goal is to slow the virus, help the health service, and encourage more vaccinations.
  • Police are in charge of checking people's vaccination status, and can carry out spot checks.

Austria started a lockdown for only unvaccinated people on Monday.

People who aren't vaccinated are only able to go outside for essential reasons, like exercising, Die Presse reported, under new rules that were introduced at midnight.

Around two million people in the country, which has a population of around nine million, are not vaccinated, according to government figures reported by Reuters.

Unvaccinated people in Austria were already not able to go to places like cinemas, shops, and restaurants.

Austria Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said the new measures were needed as infections rise again, and to protect medical staff.

He said on Sunday people should get vaccinated so "we can thus minimize the risk of infection and help to break this fourth wave. It is up to us to protect ourselves and others."

"My aim is very clear: to get the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, not to lock up the unvaccinated," he told ORF radio on Sunday, per Reuters.

Police officeres are to check people's vaccination cards when they are out and about, Reuters reported.

People who break the rules will be fined, according to the BBC.

Europe has again become the epicenter of the virus, and some countries are introducing new restrictions as they anticipate a winter surge.

The Netherlands introduced a three-week partial lockdown, and Denmark is bringing back its vaccine passport for certain venues and events.

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