New Chancellor Karl Nehammer has set an end date for the general lockdown in Austria for December 12th, but it will only apply to those considered to be fully vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus.
Chancellor Nehammer gave his first press conference as Austrian government leader on Tuesday, stating that vaccinated people would be given freedom on December 12th, while unvaccinated people would remain under strict lockdown measures.
According to Nehammer, the December 12th date was agreed upon as signs are showing that the recent surge of new Chinese coronavirus cases may be slowing down.
However, he did not go into detail about the lifting of the lockdowns for the vaccinated, stating that the details would be clarified at a summit between the federal and state governments later in the week, newspaper Kronen Zeitung reports.
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“The question is not whether we can end the lockdown, but how and with which protective measures. The lockdown for the unvaccinated will remain,” Nehammer said on Twitter.
“But we have to acknowledge that the virus will remain a part of our lives. Science enables us to find ways to continue living [in] freedom. Vaccination is our solution to achieve this freedom,” Nehammer added.
Following his appointment as chancellor by far-left Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, Nehanmmer said that he was open to dialogue with parties like the Freedom Party (FPÖ), who have resisted the vaccine passports and the proposed mandatory vaccination policy.
“There is an urgent need to reach out to people and take away their worries and fears. The division harms us all,” he said.
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Nehammer met with FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl on Tuesday afternoon, with Kickl saying of the meeting: “We exchanged our different points of view on these issues. The positions of the Freedom Party on this are already well known.”
“Nehammer did not understand that one cannot speak of overcoming the division if at the same time the lockdown for the unvaccinated and the project of the legal vaccination obligation are maintained,” Kickl said and added: “If he wants to extend his hand to reconciliation, then he must refrain from both instruments and thus end the coercive and coercive regime.”
While the FPÖ has resisted the mandatory vaccination policy along with other coercive measures, a recent poll revealed that as many as 55 per cent of the Austrian public supports the forced vaccine policy.