The Covid wave in Europe forces Austria to plan mandatory vaccination

The surge in coronavirus cases across Europe is forcing governments to take drastic measures, with Austria on track to become the first country on the continent to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory in a bid to curb infections.

Vaccines will be required for all Austrians from February 1, with the country also reimposing a strict lockdown. These plans are among the most far-reaching new measures taken by European countries to relieve pressure on hospitals, as Belgium, Germany and Norway strengthened controls.

The Austrian plans come as the European Union’s drug regulator said member states have been allowed to use it Merck Antiviral Pills to treat covid-19.

Alexander Schallenberg, Austria’s chancellor, said on Friday it was time to “face reality” as he announced the new three-week lockdown, and said a “general obligation” would apply to all Austrians – with vaccination rates among the lowest in Western Europe. To get an injection under laws that can be approved within months.

“The political consensus has been against compulsory vaccination in this country and I also believe that people should be persuaded to vaccinate . . . in order to protect society,” the chancellor said, after late-night discussions with state governors in Austria.

The graph shows that cases have already reached record levels in many countries, and the more severe indicators are going the same way

Austria currently offers vaccinations for anyone over 12 years old. Almost a quarter of Austrian adults have not yet received their full vaccinations.

No details have been made public about how the “general obligation” for vaccination will be implemented. So far only Indonesia, the Federated States of Micronesia, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan have made vaccinations mandatory.

The Schallenberg government is likely to face a tough political battle as it races to get the necessary legislation into effect, despite broad support from the opposition Social Democratic Party.

The mandate will likely be fiercely resisted by the right-wing populist Freedom Party, which has become increasingly vocal against the restrictions linked to the pandemic in recent months.

“The government is crossing a dark red line, throwing the foundation of our federal constitution abroad and leading the country in cold blood into a dictatorship,” said party leader Herbert Kekel, who is currently living at home after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Anti-vaccination activists demonstrate in Vienna
Anti-vaccination activists demonstrate in Vienna this week. The proposed mandate is likely to attract fierce resistance © Georg Hochmuth/APA/AFP/Getty

Austria is part of a group of wealthy – especially German-speaking – countries in the heart of Europe Low vaccination rates.

Germany’s air force, which has seen a surge in cases over the past week, is preparing planes in case they are needed to transport Covid-19 patients from the worst-hit areas to areas with more hospital beds, local media said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and 16 federal state leaders in Germany announced Thursday that hospitalization rates will be used Identifying new coronavirus restriction measures.

Norway said on Friday that it would tighten entry requirements into the country and that all citizens over the age of 65 would get a third dose of the vaccine before Christmas. Denmark’s government said it would require vaccine passports for use in public sector workplaces.

The European Medicines Regulatory Authority on Friday also paved the way for EU countries to use it Lagevrio – Merck’s Antiviral Pill for Covid-19 – which has been shown to cut the risk of hospitalization and death from the virus in half, to treat patients at risk.

The European Medicines Agency said it issued the advice “to support national authorities who may decide on the potential early use of a drug before marketing authorization . . . in light of the high infection and mortality rates due to Covid-19 across the European Union”.

Slovakia and the Czech Republic imposed new restrictions on Thursday. Belgium has imposed a four-day homework rule that will take effect next week.

Austria will enter lockdown on Monday, with all bars, restaurants, non-essential shops and entertainment venues closed until December 13. Procedures will be reviewed after 10 days.

Schools will remain open. After December 13, regardless of any measures to reduce restrictions, unvaccinated people will continue to be ordered to stay at home and banned from indoor public spaces.

Austria reported a new record of 15,145 daily infections on Thursday, giving the country a seven-day rolling average of 12,616 new cases per day, or 141 cases per 100,000 residents – more than three times the EU-wide average – according to Jones University. Hopkins.

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