Austria puts the unvaccinated into lockdown

As of today, around two million people in Austria who are neither vaccinated nor recovered will only be allowed to leave their homes for urgent reasons such as to go shopping or to work. The last stage of the country's five-step Covid restrictions plan has come into effect after the percentage of intensive care beds occupied by Covid patients rose above 30 percent. What to make of this partial lockdown?

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NZZ am Sonntag (CH) /

If there's a lockdown, then for everyone

The NZZ am Sonntag doubts whether the measure will be effective:

“The anti-vaxxers are now paying a high price for their freedom. In addition to the state's reprimands, there is also the stigmatisation. This means the Austrian government is accepting that society will be even more deeply divided than it already was. The politicians' ulterior motive is clear: the ten percent of citizens who have been hesitant about vaccination so far but are not convinced opponents are to be forced to take the plunge. Whether this strategy will work is questionable. And even more questionable is whether a lockdown for the unvaccinated will have any effect at all and stop the hospitals from becoming overloaded. If there is to be a lockdown, then it should be for everyone.”

Kurier (AT) /

Locking in the vaccinated would be counterproductive

Without incentives, people's willingness to get vaccinated won't increase, the Kurier concludes:

“More than 13,000 new infections [in one day]: Austria is topping the list of countries with the highest infection rate worldwide, just as it did a year ago. This is dramatic because it restricts the freedom of every individual and is already damaging the country's interests. And it's embarrassing. How do we get out of this? ... The situation is dangerous, but not as bad as last year. Now we have the vaccine. ... A lockdown for everyone would therefore be counterproductive because it would demoralise those who are willing to get vaccinated. After all, they all need the third vaccination now - sooner than expected.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Czech Republic once again just looking on

Czech politicians are acting as if their country were just an uninvolved observer of the pandemic, Lidové noviny complains:

“The Austrians, Dutch and Danes, all with far higher vaccination rates than us, are tightening the measures against Covid. We're doing nothing. In the surrounding countries panic is growing; only in our country are freedom-loving people at the helm. But the situation is too serious just make jokes about it. The number of people who are hospitalised or who have died is growing. Some hospitals are already having to cut back on care. We don't want or need that. Nor do we need a new team of amateurs who know nothing and say nothing, let alone do anything.”