Dec 08, 2021 13:36 UTC
  •  Austria plans to lift lockdown, curbs to remain for unvaccinated

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has announced that the country's partial coronavirus lockdown will end next week but unvaccinated people will still face restrictions.

"The lockdown for the unvaccinated is staying," Nehammer told a news conference on Tuesday, while confirming that the wider lockdown would be lifted next Monday as planned following a "positive trend" in recent infections.

He also noted that those who cannot show an antibody certificate following a recent infection will be banned from leaving home for non-essential reasons as well.

"For all the unvaccinated who are suffering from the fact that  they are staying in lockdown, there is a clear offer: you can come out of it if you seize the chance to get vaccinated," he added.

Nehammer further acknowledged the "strain" of the pandemic and that "for many, the limit of what is bearable has been overstepped."

The roadmap out of restrictions will be presented at a meeting on Wednesday between the government and the influential governors of Austria's nine provinces. Nehammer, who was sworn in as chancellor on Monday, said his administration would be "as prudent as possible."

Austria imposed a lockdown two weeks ago and made vaccinations mandatory from February 2022 following a surge in coronavirus cases, becoming the first EU country to take such stringent measures.

Under the current rules, Austrians are able to leave home to buy essentials, exercise, or receive medical care. Schools remain open but non-essential shops, restaurants, concert halls and cinemas are shut. Hotels are also closed to tourists.

Austria has recorded more than 4,200 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, according to official figures published on Tuesday. Daily case numbers reached 16,000 at the peak of the country's latest wave in mid-November.