The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic seems to be rearing its ugly head in Europe as Austria has already announced its plan to reimpose a full lockdown; while neighbouring Germany has warned it may follow suit.
On Friday, Austria reported 15,809 fresh infections, an all-time high, prompting the government to announce new restrictions.
It will be Austria’s fourth nationwide lockdown since the beginning of the pandemic last year.
“We have not succeeded in convincing enough people to get vaccinated;” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told a news conference. “It hurts that such measures still have to be taken.”
Austria’s plan to impose a 10-day lockdown from Monday and mandatory vaccination for citizens starting February 1 has infuriated many, triggering objections from the far-right Freedom Party.
“As of today, Austria is a dictatorship,” Freedom Party leader Herbert Kickl posted a picture on Facebook with this inscription.
Meanwhile, a fourth Covid wave has plunged Germany into a national emergency and vaccinations alone; according to health minister Jens Spahn, will not cut the infections.
Spahn’s warning suggests that lockdown measures may be on cards for Germany, Europe’s largest economy.
During a news conference, Spahn was asked whether Germany could rule out an Austrian-style full lockdown.
“We are now in a situation – even if this produces a news alert – where we can’t rule anything out,” Spahn replied. “We are in a national emergency.”
With Europe becoming the global epicentre of the pandemic again; some countries are clamping down on the unvaccinated.
The Netherlands government has proposed excluding negative tests from the national health pass, allowing only vaccination or recovery from infection, reported Bloomberg.
As protests in the Netherlands over the Covid curbs turned violent on Friday night; the Dutch police fired warning shots and deployed a water cannon to push back the crowd.
The police said in a statement that two people were injured “related to the fired shots”, without providing further details about the injuries and ammunition used in the firing.