Austria to plunge EVERYONE into full lockdown from Monday as Covid cases soar & ‘bodies stored hospital corridors’
AUSTRIA will plunge itself into a nation-wide lockdown from Monday as Covid cases soar and hospital corridors fill with dead bodies.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said the lockdown would run for a "maximum of 20 days" and imposed a new vaccine mandate.
From February 1 next year, all Austrians will also be required to have both jabs, Schallenberg announced. Those who refuse could face heavy fines.
Austria registered a whopping 15,145 new Covid cases on Thursday, smashing last November's peak of 9,586 confirmed cases.
Covid rates have been rapidly rising in recent weeks as the country grapples with one of the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe – roughly 66 per cent – and among the highest infection rates with a seven-day average of 990.7 per 100,000 people in the past week.
Experts warn the death toll could reach 2,000 by the end of this week, according to Kronen Zeitung.
"Despite months of persuasion, we have not succeeded in convincing enough people to get vaccinated," Schallenberg told a press conference on Friday and blamed those refusing to get jabbed for an "attack on the health system".
This comes as country's two worst-hit provinces – Salzburg and Upper Austria – have already announced a lockdown from Monday.
The governors of Austria's nine provinces met with Schallenberg and Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein on Friday ahead of today's shock announcement.
The European nation had imposed a lockdown for the unvaccinated on Monday but infections have continue surge well above last year's dreadful peak.
People who can't show proof of being jabbed and are caught going into shops, pubs, clubs and cinemas face being slapped with a €500 fine while business owners could be slugged for €3,600, according to the Interior Ministry.
Under the new measures coming in next week, Austrians are being told to work from home while non-essential shops will be closed.
Schools will remain open for face-to-face learning until December 12 but officials have said they plan to review this policy in 10 days.
Meanwhile, in Linz, nurses have resorted to storing dead Covid patients in hospital corridors.
One nurse told Kronen: "There were so many deaths at the weekend that the prosecution was overburdened, we had to put the corpses in the aisle."
The flood of new Covid patients has become so overwhelming that nurses have reported ditching "normal" caring practices reserved for dying people, according to the paper.
Last week, Europe accounted for more than half of the seven-day average of infections globally and at least half of the latest Covid deaths, according to a tally by Reuters.
It comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel slapped fresh curbs on public life for unvaccinated people in areas where hospital beds are filling up fast with Covid patients.
Meanwhile, Greece has imposed more restrictions on unvaccinated people and barred them from all indoor spaces following a recent surge in cases.
More to follow…
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