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Austria to enter lockdown Monday, Germany may follow

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Austria enters lockdown on Monday and Germany is tightening restrictions. (via The Economic Times)
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As Europe is increasingly engulfed in another wave of Covid-19 infections, Austria announced it will go into a full lockdown on Monday, and Germany in a national emergency is considering following with a lockdown of its own. The announcement makes Austria the first country in Western Europe to go back into a lockdown in the face of a worsening Covid-19 situation.

Austria has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe with about two-thirds vaccinated, while infection rates are some of the highest at 991 per 100,000 people. They will require all citizens to be vaccinated by February, despite far-right factions protesting against vaccines and Covid-19 restrictions.

Germany’s fourth wave of Covid-19 has created a national emergency, with the Health Minister saying that vaccination isn’t enough and more social contact reduction is needed. As Europe’s largest economy, the financial markets have waivered on the news with stocks, government bond yields, oil prices and the euro all suffering. The minister said they aren’t ruling out a full lockdown.

While Austria is the first to go into full lockdown, the Netherlands recently made waves with a partial lockdown. The Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Germany all have restrictions for unvaccinated people there as well. Today, Hungary will begin requiring masks in most places indoors and require booster shots for all healthcare workers as they hit record highs of over 11,000 Covid-19 infections yesterday.

The economic impact hasn’t been nearly as bad as last year’s lockdowns so far, but if Germany goes to full lockdown, it could spell a financial disaster for the recovering economy. Germany is taking swift and decisive actions to try to curb the Covid-19 spread and avoid the catastrophe.

The country plans on enacting limitations where hospitals are nearly full, with many public activities allowed only for fully vaccinated people or for those already recovered from Covid-19. The eastern state of Saxony has the lowest vaccination rates and most severe Covid-19 conditions, with infections 14 times higher over the past month. The region is home to far-right anti-vaxxers who, like the far-right in Austria, refuse vaccines but also fight against lockdowns, and as a result, officials may close sports stadiums, theatres, and concert venues.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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