Austria plans to lift Covid-19 lockdown, but not for the unvaccinated

VIENNA (REUTERS) – Unvaccinated individuals will continue to stay in lockdown even after Austria lifts its wider coronavirus measure for the general public next Sunday (Dec 12), Chancellor Karl Nehammer confirmed on Tuesday, a day after he took office.

Austria’s two-week-old lockdown aimed to counter a surge in daily Covid-19 infections to record levels, with restaurants, bars, theatres, museums and non-essential shops shut to all but takeaway business. Hotels are closed to tourists.

A week before that general lockdown, people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus had been placed under lockdown, barring them from roughly the same places that are now shut, and allowed to leave home only for the same few reasons as the public now, such as going to work.

“The lockdown for the unvaccinated is staying,” Mr Nehammer told a news conference, while confirming that the wider curbs would be lifted next Sunday as planned.

However, details still need to be ironed out at a meeting on Wednesday between the government and the influential governors of Austria’s nine provinces.

“For all the unvaccinated who are suffering from the fact they are staying in lockdown, there is a clear offer: you can come out of it if you seize the chance to get vaccinated,” Mr Nehammer said, adding that his aim was to encourage as many as possible to get their first dose of vaccine.

Asked if restaurants and hotels would reopen at the weekend, Mr Nehammer said that had already been agreed with provincial governors and the aim was to reopen businesses as broadly as possible.

The question that remained was what safety measures and curbs needed to be adopted, he added.

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