Austria will go into a nationwide lockdown from Monday to contain the rising coronavirus cases, AP quoted Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg as saying on Friday.
This makes Austria the first country in the European Union to have introduced such a stringent measure after Covid-19 cases reported a resurgence in the continent.
A lockdown was already in place in Austria for unvaccinated people and those who recently recovered from coronavirus. From Monday, the restrictions will extend to the entire population.
Schallenberg said that the lockdown will be initially for 10 days. During this period, most shops will remain closed, and cultural events will be cancelled. People will not be allowed to leave home, except to buy essentials items and exercising.
The Austrian chancellor had initially said that all students will need to return to home schooling. However, Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein later said that schools will remain open for those who needed to go there, but added that parents should keep their children at home if possible.
Schallenberg also said that the country will mandate Covid-19 vaccinations from February 1 next year, according to AFP. “Despite months of persuasion, we have not succeeded in convincing enough people to get vaccinated,” he said at a press conference.
Coronavirus cases have been rising in Austria in the recent days. The country has reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the past seven days.
On Thursday, Austria reported a record number of over 15,000 new cases.