Austrian chancellor threatens lockdown for unvaccinated

Austria's chancellor has warned that unvaccinated people could face new lockdown restrictions if coronavirus case numbers continue to rise

The news came after a Friday evening meeting between Schallenberg and state-level leaders to discuss their response to rapidly increasing case numbers.

“The pandemic is not yet in the rearview mirror,” Schallenberg said. “We are about to stumble into a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Schallenberg announced that if the number of COVID patients in intensive-care units reaches 500, or 25 percent of the country's total ICU capacity, entrance into businesses such as restaurants and hotels will be limited to those who are vaccinated or recovered from the virus.

If the number reaches 600, or one-third of total ICU capacity, the government plans to impose restrictions on unvaccinated people. In this case, they would only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons.

Currently, the number of COVID patients in ICUs stands at 220.

Although Austria's government has encouraged citizens to get vaccinated, the effort has slowed in recent months. Some 65.4% of the total population has received one dose of the vaccine, and 62.2% are fully vaccinated.