Austria: Expert discusses decision to go into lockdown
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Austria is facing a full lockdown as much of Europe grapples with skyrocketing Covid cases. Announcing strict measures on Friday, Austria will be the first country in Western Europe to reimpose lockdown measures. The country will have strict rules in place from Monday, November 22 in a bid to tackle rising cases – but what does this mean for travel?
Neighbouring Germany could also reinstate measures, with a fourth wave currently rippling through the country.
Austria’s lockdown will be accompanied by a mandate for the whole population to receive their vaccines by February 1.
Currently, at least 12,531,378 doses of COVID vaccines have been issued – equalling 70.6 percent of Austria’s population.
Infections have reached 13,189 per day, with 1,040 infections per 100,000 people – with Reuters data showing the country is at its peak and rising.
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But what does this mean for travel?
Austria is a beautiful destination during the winter months, with many flocking to enjoy Christmas markets and skiing.
Despite the strict lockdown measures people can still travel to the country from the UK.
However, there are some restrictions, with travellers needing proof of vaccination, a current negative Covid test or proof of recovery from the virus.
For single-shot vaccines (like Johnson & Johnson), you must show you received the vaccine more than 21 but no more than 270 days before arrival.
For double-shot vaccines (e.g. AstraZeneca, Moderna), you must show that you received the second injection no more than 270 days before arrival.
If you received a booster more than 120 days after being fully immunised, this must not have been more than 270 days before arrival.
And those who are not fully vaccinated will need to fill in a pre-travel clearance form and isolate for 10 days upon arrival.
For those travelling before November 21, both PCR and lateral flow tests are accepted, however, after this date only PCR tests can be taken.
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What are Austria’s lockdown measures?
From Monday, Austrians must work from home, and non-essential shops and bars must close.
Schools will stay open for children who need to learn face to face.
Measures are due for review in 10 days but have a current end date of December 12.
The restrictions come at a time when many in Austria are angry at mandates affecting freedoms.
The anger has been stoked by Austria’s third-biggest political party, the far-right Freedom Party.
Party leader Herbert Kickl posted a picture on Facebook with the inscription: “As of today Austria is a dictatorship.”
The party is planning a protest today, but Mr Kickl cannot attend because he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced the measures in a press conference saying: “We have not succeeded in convincing enough people to get vaccinated.
“It hurts that such measures still have to be taken.”
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