Nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated triggers protests in Vienna

People gathered in the Austrian capital Vienna early Monday to protest against the nationwide lockdown for people who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, as the central European country fights a record surge in cases.

The move, which came into effect at midnight on Sunday, prohibits unvaccinated individuals older than age 12 from leaving their homes except for basic activities such as working, grocery shopping, going for a walk – or getting vaccinated.

“It’s our job as the government of Austria to protect the people,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told reporters in the capital, Vienna, on Sunday. “Therefore we decided that starting Monday … there will be a lockdown for the unvaccinated.”

The lockdown will initially last for 10 days and police have been asked to check people outside to make sure they are vaccinated, Schallenberg said, adding that additional officers would go on patrol to control the lockdown.

Unvaccinated people can be fined up to 1,450 euros ($1,660) if they do not adhere to the restrictions.

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