With an increase in covid-19 cases and difficulties in reaching the ideal level of vaccination, Austria adopted a new lockdown. From this Monday (22), the orientation is that the Austrians work from home, if possible, and only essential services will continue to operate in person in the country.
Last week, the country even proposed a specific lockdown for those who did not want to be immunized against covid-19. However, authorities in Austria extended the measure to everyone, seeking to contain new transmissions of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The new measure generated demonstrations by some groups against immunization in the country.
In parallel with the lockdown, Austria became the first European country to make vaccination against covid-19 a legal requirement. This means that a law will oblige everyone to be immunized from February 2022, but the obligation will not be through physical force or arrests. Individuals who continue to refuse vaccination will be fined. Germany is also studying the adoption of a similar measure.
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Covid’s situation is critical in Europe
In addition to Austria, covid-19 infection rates have increased across Europe. On Saturday (20), the regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Hans Kluge, said that half a million more deaths could be registered in the next spring on the continent, if the protective measures (vaccinations, use of health passports) and masks) were not reinforced. The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) even pointed out that this situation should be seen as a warning for Brazil.
Austria is one of the countries leading the adoption of new measures against covid-19 on the continent. With the new lockdown, people will be able to leave the house only in specific cases, such as going to work, exercising and going to the market and pharmacies. This is because restaurants, bars, hairdressers, theaters and non-essential establishments must be closed. Schools and kindergartens will remain open to parents who will continue to work face-to-face.
Initially, the measure should last until December 12th. However, the block will be reassessed in ten days, when some relaxation occurs. In an interview, Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said the government needed to “react now” and prevent the new wave of covid-19 from taking hold.
Covid-19 vaccination rate in Austria
According to the Our World in Data platform, complete vaccination against covid-19 covers 64% of Austrians, which equates to 5.8 million people. This is one of the lowest rates in Western Europe and many people are still hesitating in the country, making it difficult to control the disease.
In Brazil, the study by the Butantan Institute, in Serrana, in the interior of São Paulo, pointed to the need to immunize at least 75% of the population to cut the transmission of the coronavirus. In the city, the CoronaVac vaccine was used in virtually the entire adult population, and deaths from the coronavirus dropped by 95%. This was one of the first studies to assess the massive importance of immunization.