July 6, 2022

two regions of Austria are reconfined

The confinement of the unvaccinated has fizzled out, here is the return of traditional confinement. In a movement of panic, two Austrian regions particularly affected by the fourth wave of Covid-19 announced, Thursday, November 18, that they would reintroduce a general containment of their population next week, a first in Europe since the spring. “The dynamics of contaminations are not tenable”, justified Wilfried Haslauer, governor (Austrian People’s Party, ÖVP, conservative) of the Land of Salzburg, where the seven-day incidence rate exceeded 1,700 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

As in neighboring Upper Austria, this new confinement should “Last three or four weeks minimum”, which leaves the hope of deconfinement ” for Christmas “. On the model of previous confinements in the Alpine Republic, no travel certificate will be necessary, but residents are called to stay at home except to go to work or do their essential purchases. They will also retain the right to take the air. All non-essential businesses, starting with restaurants and hotels, will be closed. The two regions also ask parents to withdraw their children from schools by brandishing the considerable rates of contamination among the youngest. “We have an incidence rate of 4,500 in children under 10, they get infected and bring the virus home! “, and announced Mr. Haslauer.

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This decision of the regions of Salzburg and Upper Austria could be extended Friday to the whole country, at the request of many experts, and environmentalists who are in the government. It comes only four days after the entry into force of the containment of the unvaccinated, an Austrian innovation which was to both push the reluctant to be vaccinated and reduce contamination. Difficult to control and de facto little applied, the measure has been criticized from all sides in recent days: by the extreme right for its discriminating side, and by the left and environmentalists, who considered it insufficient in the face of the rising curve of the number of people hospitalized in intensive care. The two regions, which have the highest proportion of unvaccinated in the country, already have higher bed occupancy rates than last winter.

Vaccine failures

Under the pressure of the measures and the epidemic, the number of vaccinated has certainly increased slightly in recent days, but it still remains just within the European average, with 65.6% of the entire population having received two doses , compared to 74.9% in France. “We cannot wait for the measures to produce effects”, said Haslauer, in unison with experts who believe that the progress of the vaccination campaign will now be felt too late to stop the current wave. Austria is also still debating how to force its health personnel to be vaccinated, a taboo in this country where children are not subject to any vaccination obligation and where the extreme right holds an anti-ax discourse.

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