The Austrian government on Thursday extended a lockdown for unvaccinated individuals by another ten days ahead of a COVID-19 vaccine requirement that is expected to go into effect in early 2022.
While under the measure, unvaccinated Austrians are generally not allowed to leave their homes or meet more than one person at a time from another household. The measure doesn’t apply to children under the age of 12 because they cannot yet officially get vaccinated.
Austria's health minister announced last week that an exception will be granted by the government over the Christmas holidays and unvaccinated individuals will be allowed to join gatherings of up to 10 people from Dec. 24 to Dec. 26 without needing proof of vaccination or proof of recovery from the CCP virus.
"Christmas should show us once again how important contact with our loved ones is and how precious time together is," Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said as he announced a temporary loosening to restrictions for unvaccinated citizens.
Those who are vaccinated or have recently recovered from the CCP virus are allowed gatherings of up to 25 people.
Austria has one of the world's toughest CCP virus restrictions and was the first country in Western Europe to reimpose a new lockdown last month that has brought weekly protests in the country's capital attended by tens of thousands of people.
"It’s our job as the government of Austria to protect the people," Schallenberg said in mid-November as he ordered a nationwide lockdown for individuals who chose not to get jabbed.