Austria bans people not vaccinated against Covid-19 from cafes amid rising number of new cases

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Austria said on Friday it was banning cafes, restaurants and hairdressers for those not fully vaccinated against Covid-19, as infections approach the record set a year ago and the government struggles to convince the refractory to be vaccinated.

Around 64% of the Austrian population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, which is the European Union average but one of the lowest rates in Western Europe. Many Austrians are skeptical of vaccines, as are the far-right Freedom Party, the third party in parliament.

New daily infections rose to 9,388 on Friday, near the high of 9,586 set a year ago when the second of three nationwide lockdowns was introduced.

“The development is exceptional and the occupancy rate of intensive care beds is increasing significantly faster than expected,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said at a press conference on the new measures which come into force on Monday.

These include prohibiting unvaccinated hotels and events with more than 25 people.

The number of COVID-19 cases is currently increasing across Europe, but there is a pronounced problem in Central and Eastern Europe where the vaccination rate is also below the European average. pic.twitter.com/JPGBTebyJ3

– Liam Hoare (@lahoare) November 5, 2021 There will be a four week transition period during which a first vaccination and PCR test will allow admission to places where the unvaccinated will be banned. After that, only people who are fully vaccinated and those who have recently recovered from a coronavirus infection will be admitted.

Friday’s announcement by the Conservative-led government comes a day after a similar move by the Social Democrat-led city of Vienna, which has the lowest infection rate among Austria’s nine provinces but the lowest percentage. higher of intensive care beds occupied by Covid-19 patients at 20 percent.

The New York Times reported on Friday that the city of Vienna would help immunize children as young as five against Covid-19 without official EU approval in what the newspaper said appears to be the first program of routine EU vaccination for children organized by a government agency. While US regulators approved Pfizer’s vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds, launching vaccinations for this age group in the United States this week, the European Medicines Agency’s decision on the matter is still pending. .

(AXADLETM with REUTERS)

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