Austria: Police patrol shops under new covid guidelines
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Upper Austria’s conservative governor, Thomas Stelzer, said that if there is no nationwide lockdown, the region will enter “a lockdown of several weeks from next week,” reported Die Presse. The Salzburg region has also agreed to join these measures, announcing in a statement that they were needed “in view of the continuing sharp rise in new corona infections.”
Salzburg Governor Wilfried Haslauer said: “We no longer see any alternative to a lockdown.”
The regions – which both border Germany – are home to around 1.6 million people.
Upper Austria is a stronghold of the far-right and vaccine-criticising Freedom Party and has the country’s highest infection rate and its lowest vaccination rate.
Both it and Saltzberg have been hit hard by the virus – a fact many have blamed on their relatively low vaccination rates.
It comes as the EU country recorded more than 15,000 new cases today.
It has a seven-day incidence of 989 per 100,000 inhabitants — nearly three times as high as the UK’s.
Hospitals in Salzburg and Upper Austria are overloaded and there are unconfirmed reports of dead bodies being stored in the corridors.
One ICU nurse told Austrian Press Agency: “You put dead corona patients in an airtight plastic bag, zip it shut, and that’s it.”
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With only 64 percent of its population, Austria has struggled to contain the virus – especially during the often torrid winter flu months.
On Monday its Government implemented a controversial two-tiered lockdown.
This mean that unvaccinated people were only allowed to leave their homes for certain reasons including buying essential groceries and going to work.
Its imposition outraged many Austrians – which has a sizeable antivaxxer population.
Yesterday thousands of anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets in Graz, Austria’s third largest city.
A major rally is also planned in the capital of Vienna on Saturday.
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