Austria will become the first country in Europe to go back into a full national lockdown from Monday for a “maximum of 20 days” as a fourth wave sweeps across Europe.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has also said from 1 February it will be a “requirement to get vaccinated.”
Restaurants and bars will close and cultural events will be cancelled across the country and children will be home schooled.
Only 66% of Austria’s population have been vaccinated and Schallenberg said, “We do not want a fifth wave.”
Upper Austria’s conservative governor, Thomas Stelzer had warned that if there is no national lockdown, then the region will be forced to enter “a lockdown of several weeks from next week,” reported Die Presse.
The Salzburg region have also agreed to join the measures and said in a statement these are 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 country has seen a seven day incidence of 989 per 100,000 population, which is almost three times higher than the UK.
Hospitals are overloaded and there has been reports of dead bodies being stored in corridors as they are overwhelmed.
One ICU nurse told Austrian Press Agency, “You put dead corona patients in an airtight plastic bag, zip it shut, and that’s it.”