Few controls and many doubts in the Austrian confinement to unvaccinated

Austria has been living the first partial confinement of the unvaccinated in the European Union (EU) since Monday. Although the measure has not altered normality, fewer people are seen on the streets of Vienna, few police controls and many doubts among citizens.

“I have the impression that there are fewer people on the street,” confirms a shop assistant in a pastry shop on Mariahilferstrasse, Vienna’s commercial artery.

“Although I am vaccinated, it does not seem to me to be the right measure. I think a short lockdown would have been better for everyone. In addition, now there are many ways to falsify a COVID certificate, “adds the woman, who prefers to remain anonymous.

In addition to confinement for the unvaccinated, the authorities have called for a return to teleworking, something that many officials of the Vienna local administration already do.

The restriction on movement applies in principle until November 24 for those who are not vaccinated or have already passed COVID.

They will only be able to leave their homes to buy basic products, go to the doctor or get vaccinated, exercise outdoors or go to work, the latter only if they present a negative PCR test every day, a test that in Austria is free

Exempt from confinement are those under 12 years of age, pregnant women and those who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons. You can also go to school or institute, where a plan of three weekly tests will be reinstated.

Skipping the restrictions carries fines of between 500 and 1,450 euros.

Although the Government announced a greater police deployment to monitor compliance, Efe was able to verify today that in the center of Vienna there were no controls or more agents than usual.

Opinions on these measures vary widely in a country where only 65% ​​of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19, and where the issue even confronts friends and family, to the point that the country’s president, Alexander Van der Bellen, recently made a public appeal for concord.

“It seems like a good measure to me. Austria cannot be held hostage by a minority that does not want to be vaccinated. In a pandemic such as the Spanish flu in 1918, they would have dreamed of having a vaccine, we have several against the coronavirus and they have the luxury of rejecting them, ”Wolfgang, a 53-year-old official, argues to Efe.

Thomas, a 25-year-old architecture student who has been immunized, says that he does not know if he will be able to visit his parents at Christmas, who have not done so because they wait for other vaccines to come out.

“But they are very careful not to get infected and I do not understand this measure,” he protests.

The Interior Minister himself, Karl Nehammer, has recognized that it will be difficult to prevent contacts between vaccinated and unvaccinated, due to the inviolability of the home.

The far-right FPÖ party, with a voting intention of around 20%, is radically opposed to vaccines and restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus.

Its leader, Herbert Kickl, who days ago defended a mixture of ibuprofen and vitamin C as a treatment against the disease, announced this Monday that he has been infected, although he says he is fine.

He regretted not being able to participate in the demonstration called for this Saturday against confinement, a measure that he defined as “crazy.”

“The protest is more necessary than ever to not accept the division of society between good and bad and not let a failed government apply inhumane measures, without legal support and lacking evidence,” said the ultra leader on Facebook.

Meanwhile, within the Government there have also been fissures, with the Minister of Health, the environmentalist Wolfgang Mückstein, advocating a night curfew also for the vaccinated, something rejected by the conservatives of the Popular Party.

Many experts believe that confinement for the unvaccinated is insufficient, when the cumulative incidence in seven days has skyrocketed to 894 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Thomas Czypionka, a health policy analyst at the Institute for Advanced Studies, believes that contacts must be reduced by 30% to get the situation under control again.

For that, he says, other measures would have to be applied, such as reinforcing the use of masks, closing restaurants earlier and requiring those vaccinated to also have PCR tests at some events.

“Confinement for the unvaccinated is difficult to control and divides society, a situation that would have been better avoided,” criticizes Czypionka in statements to Efe.

In his opinion, the government went too long without applying harsher measures and only decided to use confinement as an “emergency brake” due to the already difficult situation of the ucis.

Source link