“Our task as the federal government is to protect the people of Austria. We are fulfilling this responsibility,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told a news conference on Sunday.

Unvaccinated Austrians ages 12 and older awoke on Monday morning confined to their homes for all but essential activities, as one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns in Europe went into effect to battle a surge in infections, the New York Times reports.

Under new rules announced by the government on Sunday, adults and minors 12 and older who have not been vaccinated or recovered from a coronavirus infection cannot go outside except to buy groceries, seek medical care or travel to school or work. They are the toughest of a new wave of restrictions across Europe, as governments try to contain near-record numbers of cases.

“Our task as the federal government is to protect the people of Austria. We are fulfilling this responsibility,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told a news conference on Sunday.

The move was described as temporary, but the government did not immediately say how long it would remain in effect.

About 65 percent of Austria’s 8.9 million people are vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in western Europe, according to the Our World in Data Project at the University of Oxford. Over the past two weeks, average daily cases have risen by 134 percent to nearly 11,000, the highest since the pandemic began.

Read more

© Copyright LaPresse