Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg warned late Friday unvaccinated citizens risk another lockdown if numbers of patients in intensive care rise.
“The pandemic is not yet in the rearview mirror,” Schallenberg said during a videoconference held by the government. “We are about to stumble into a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
The chancellor gave assurances that vaccinated Austrians will be exempt from any lockdown as will those who have recovered from the coronavirus.
If the number of coronavirus patients in intensive-care units reaches 500, or 25 percent of the country’s total ICU capacity, only the vaccinated or those who have recovered from the virus will be allowed entry into businesses such as restaurants and hotels.
If, however, number of ICU patients surpasses the occupancy limit of 30 percent (600 beds), a lockdown will kick in and the unvaccinated will be obligated to stay at home.
Schallenberg said he hopes the measure will serve as a stimulus to motivate the “hesitant and procrastinators” into getting the jab.
Currently, the number of occupied beds in intensive care stands at 220, still quite far from the limit that would trigger the new lockdown.
Some 65.4 percent of the total population of Austria has received at least one dose of the vaccine and 62.2% are fully vaccinated, yet despite these figures thousands of new cases of the virus continue appearing each week, most of which are mild.
The Austrian government recently announced that as of from November 1, employees in the workplace will have to prove they have been vaccinated, tested negative, or have recovered from the coronavirus.