The government of Austria has issued stringent new lockdown measures on some 2 million unvaccinated citizens, with some of them facing fines if they refuse to comply with the new coercive measure.
Citizens who are not fully vaccinated against COVID were sent into lockdown on Monday, as federal police roaming Austria's streets making sure citizens are complying. They have also been stopping anyone in public places for random checks on their vaccination status.
According to CNBC, unvaccinated Austrians who violate the new lockdown measures will be fined up to 500 euros or $567. Those who will refuse to show their vaccination status to the authorities will also be fined up to 1,450 euros.
The new lockdown measures are applicable to Austrians aged 12 and above who have not received two doses of the COVID vaccine. However, those who got infected with COVID and have recovered are exempted from the new rules.
In Austria, citizens are required to present proof of full vaccination when visiting restaurants, hair salons, markets, and other public spaces. In Vienna specifically, children six years and older must present a negative COVID test to gain access to such public spaces.
Austria currently has a vaccination rate of 65%, making it the second lowest in the ranking of vaccination rates in Western Europe. The country recorded an all-time high of 13,152 new cases in one day over the weekend, spurring authorities to develop new measures to contain the virus.
"The coronavirus situation in Austria is serious and a fourth wave is just catching us in full severity," Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said on Sunday. "The number of new infections in Austria is higher than it has ever been before. The only way to break this vicious circle of the pandemic is vaccination."
But citizens are not liking the double standard for unvaccinated Austrians. On Monday alone, about 15,000 police checks were conducted across the landlocked country. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer reported that there were about 120 violations "found and punished," but remarked that the public was highly cooperative with the authorities and their new set of lockdown rules.
However, the new lockdown measures that impose fines on those without proof of vaccination is facing major backlash from Austria's third-largest political party called the Freedom Party. The group called the new measures "a corona apartheid system" and plan to stage a protest on Saturday.
Unvaccinated Austrians who were subjected to the lockdowns lamented on social media their plight under the government's new rules. WND reported that a Twitter user by the name of Anna S. Phillips, who lives in Austria, shared that she is "20 years old and healthy yet the government denies my freedom."
"I see too many thanking the government for stepping in, for taking care of the situation, the unhinged unvaccinated," Phillips wrote. "This country hasn't learned one lesson of its own history and it shows."