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The governor of Upper Austria said his province and the city of Salzburg would apply a full lockdown from Monday, closing shops and non-essential hospitality areas and ordering all residents to stay at home, regardless their vaccination status.
In a statement released Thursday, Thomas Stelzer called on the Austrian federal government to implement nationwide measures in the face of the increase in coronavirus infections in the country.
“We don’t have much more room to maneuver, which is to say we have very, very little room to maneuver,” said Stelzer.
“If there is no full federal lockdown by Monday, we will proceed with a multi-week lockdown in Upper Austria and neighboring state of Salzburg,” he told reporters.
He called on Austria’s coronavirus task force to discuss a possible nationwide social shutdown in a meeting Thursday afternoon. State governors will meet with the federal government on Friday to discuss the proposals.
New general measures were needed to “stabilize medical care in hospitals and protect employees from overload,” Stelzer said.
Austria on Tuesday recorded a new record of 15,609 new daily cases, bringing the 7-day moving average to 971 cases per 100,000 population, one of the highest rates in Europe.
Austria has put in place a controversial lockdown against the unvaccinated, who have been ordered to stay at home, with severe financial penalties applied by police for violators.
Despite widespread availability, around a quarter of Austrians over the age of 12 have yet to receive any dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Skepticism about the vaccine’s efficacy and opposition to its forced administration is widespread.
Upper Austria is the country’s third largest state in terms of population, with just under 1.5 million inhabitants. It is also the most affected by the third wave due to its low use of vaccines.