People in Austria who chose to not get a CCP virus vaccine face being locked down at home if the number of severe COVID-19 hospitalizations in the nation continues to climb.
Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced on Friday that if the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) reaches 600, people who did not get a vaccine would only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons.
Six hundred intensive care units represent one-third of the total capacity in Austria. There were 220 COVID-19 patients in ICUs at the time of Schallenberg’s announcement.
“The pandemic is not yet in the rearview mirror,” Schallenberg said. “We are about to stumble into a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
If the number of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus cases in ICUs reaches 500, people who did not get a vaccine or have acquired immunity through prior infection would not be allowed to enter businesses like restaurants and hotels, Schallenberg announced.
The announcement came after Schallenberg met with local leaders to address a rapid rise in CCP virus cases. The CCP virus is the pathogen that causes COVID-19.
Austria boasts one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. More than 62 percent of its population are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a higher proportion than in the United States.
There were 228 infections per 100,000 people in Austria reported during the last 7 days, compared to 152 cases per 100,000 people the week prior. The number of daily new COVID-19 cases has been climbing steadily in Austria since early July.
Austria’s threat of a blanket lockdown appears to be one of the most stringent mitigation measures targeting the unvaccinated population that has been attempted. Russia will lock down people over the age of 60 for four months beginning Oct. 25. Some states in Australia have allowed only vaccinated people to return to work.
The protection COVID-19 vaccines provide against spreading the Delta variant to others is relatively small and dwindles rapidly over the course of three months, according to a first-of-its-kind pre-print study by scientists in the United Kingdom published earlier this month. Twelve weeks after vaccination, vaccinated people were as likely to transmit the Delta variant as the unvaccinated, the study found.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.