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The governor of Upper Austria has said his province and the city of Salzburg will enforce a full lockdown from Monday, shutting non-essential shops and hospitality venues and ordering all residents to stay at home, regardless of vaccination status.
In a statement today, Thomas Stelzer called on Austria’s federal government to implement the measures nationwide amid rising coronavirus infections in the country.
“We don’t have much more room for manoeuvre — that is to say, we have very very little room for manoeuvre,” said Stelzer.
“If there isn’t a full federal lockdown by Monday, then we will go ahead with a lockdown lasting for several weeks in Upper Austria and the neighbouring state of Salzburg,” he told reporters.
He has called for Austria’s coronavirus task force to discuss a potential nationwide social shutdown at a meeting this afternoon. State governors will meet the federal government tomorrow to discuss the proposals.
New blanket measures were needed to “stabilise medical care in hospitals and protect employees from overload”, Stelzer said.
Austria recorded a new high of 15,609 new daily cases on Tuesday, bringing the 7-day rolling average to 971 cases per 100,000 residents, one of the highest rates in Europe.
Austria has operated a controversial lockdown against the unvaccinated, who have been ordered to stay at home, with severe financial penalties being enforced by police for rule breakers.
Despite widespread availability, about one quarter of Austrians over the age of 12 have yet to receive any dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Scepticism about the vaccine’s efficacy and opposition to its enforced administration is widespread.
Upper Austria is the third-largest state by population in the country, with just under 1.5m residents. It is also the worst hit by the third wave because of its low vaccine uptake.