(Bloomberg) -- Austria has laid out a framework for potential new lockdown measures to apply only to unvaccinated people, as Covid-19 inoculations lag and cases rise sharply.
“I will do everything I can to ensure that the health system in this country does not reach its limit and is not overloaded because we have too many procrastinators,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said in a statement Saturday.
If the number of Covid patients in intensive care units hits 500, or 25% of the country’s capacity, unvaccinated people would be barred from hotels and restaurants.
If ICU capacity reaches one-third, or 600 units, a lockdown would go into effect for the unvaccinated, who would only be allowed to leave their homes for certain reasons.
Some 220 ICU beds are currently occupied, well below levels hit in the spring. But they’ve risen steadily since the summer.
Lockdowns Are Back as East EU Pays for Low Vaccination Rates
“The pandemic is not yet in the rear-view mirror,” Schallenberg, who took over as chancellor this month from Sebastian Kurz, said Friday night after meeting with state-level leaders, according to the Associated Press. “We are about to stumble into a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
New virus cases in Austria are accelerating. The latest 7-day average was 2,869 cases versus 1,830 as of Oct. 1.
Austria’s vaccination rate lags much of Western Europe but is well ahead of Eastern European countries that are facing a Covid crisis at the moment.
Some 65.4% of Austrians have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and 62.4% are fully vaccinated.
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