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Austria becomes first EU country to go into full lockdown this autumn

Streets in the city center of Vienna, Austria, are empty on November 22.
Streets in the city center of Vienna, Austria, are empty on November 22. (Lisa Leutner/AP)

Austria on Monday became the first nation in the European Union to go into full lockdown this autumn.

The 20-day national lockdown came into force at midnight, meaning all people — vaccinated or not — can only leave their homes for essential reasons such as food, work and school. Non-essential shops are closed.

The lockdown will be reviewed after an initial 10 days, as per law.

The tough new restrictions come as the country battles a surge in Covid-19 infections. Last week Austria’s seven-day incidence rate passed 1,000 per 1000,000 inhabitants for the first time during the pandemic, according to the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES).

On Tuesday, the country of roughly 9 million also reported 16,717 cases — its highest number of cases in a single day.

Just under 66% of the population are fully vaccinated — one of western Europe’s lower rates — according to figures from the Ministry of Health, last updated on Saturday. However the vaccination rate curve has been increasing in recent days, ministry data shows.

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