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Individuals in Austria usually are not allowed to go away residence besides to go to work, store for necessities and train, because the nation returned to a Covid-19 lockdown on Monday morning.

Tens of 1000’s of individuals took to the streets on Saturday to protest towards the measures, some blaming the federal government for not doing extra to avert the newest coronavirus wave crashing into Europe.

The Alpine nation can be imposing a sweeping vaccine mandate from 1 February – becoming a member of the Vatican as the one locations in Europe with such a requirement.

Battling a resurgent pandemic nearly two years since Covid-19 first emerged, a number of international locations on the continent have reintroduced curbs, some banning unvaccinated individuals from venues together with eating places and bars.

Since Covid jabs turned broadly out there, the one different EU nation to re-enter a nationwide lockdown has been Latvia. Austria’s resolution punctures earlier guarantees that powerful virus restrictions can be a factor of the previous.

Over the summer time, then chancellor Sebastian Kurz had declared the pandemic “over”.

However plateauing inoculation charges, file case numbers and a spiralling demise toll have compelled the federal government to row again on such daring claims.

After taking workplace in October, the chancellor, Alexander Schallenberg, criticised the “shamefully low” vaccination charge – 66%, in contrast with France’s 75% – and banned unvaccinated individuals from public areas.

When that proved ineffective at dampening the newest surge in infections, he introduced a nationwide lockdown of 20 days, with an analysis after 10 days.

Colleges will stay open, though dad and mom have been requested to maintain their youngsters at residence if potential. Working remotely can be beneficial.

Thomas Hofer, a political analyst, blamed Schallenberg for sustaining “the fiction” of a efficiently contained pandemic for too lengthy. “The government didn’t take the warnings of a next wave seriously,” he informed AFP. “The chaos is evident.”

Whereas many Austrians spent their weekend earlier than the stay-at-home order having fun with mulled wine or procuring, a crowd of 40,000 marched via Vienna decrying “dictatorship”.

Andreas Schneider, 31, from Belgium, who works as an economist within the Austrian capital, described the lockdown as a “tragedy”.

“I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this, especially now that we have the vaccine,” he mentioned.

Referred to as to rally by a far-right political celebration, some protesters wore a yellow star studying “not vaccinated”, mimicking the Star of David Nazis compelled Jews to put on in the course of the Holocaust, an act that was decried by politicians throughout Europe.

Alongside the “worried” residents are others who “are becoming radicalised”, the inside minister, Karl Nehammer, mentioned on Sunday, the identical day about 6,000 individuals protested within the metropolis of Linz.


Elsewhere in Europe – as infections soar and anti-Covid measures get stricter – frustrations have additionally erupted into demonstrations, with some marred by clashes with police.

Greater than 130 individuals have been arrested within the Netherlands over three days of unrest sparked by a Covid curfew, and in Brussels on Sunday, officers fired water cannon and teargas at a protest police mentioned was attended by 35,000 individuals.

In Denmark, about 1,000 demonstrators protested towards authorities plans to reinstate a Covid go for civil servants.

“People want to live,” mentioned one of many organisers of the Dutch protests, Joost Eras. “That’s why we’re here.”

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