Police conduct random inspections of vaccinations

Police are monitoring compliance with the closure of Innsbruck on the first day of the national closure day for people who have not yet been vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus.

Jan Hetfleisch | Getty Images

Austria has imposed new closure measures on some 2 million unvaccinated people and faces fines for non-compliance.

Those who have not been fully vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus have been locked up again since Monday, and federal police have stopped people in public places to check their vaccination status.

Non-vaccinators who violate the foreclosure rules can be fined up to € 500 ($ 567) and anyone who refuses to comply with the vaccination check can be fined € 1,450.

Recent restrictions apply to anyone over 12 years of age who has not received two doses of the vaccine. People who have recently recovered from the virus are exempt from the restrictions.

A full vaccination certificate is required to visit public places such as restaurants, hairdressers and the Christmas market. In Vienna, children over the age of 6 must show a negative Covid test result in order to gain access to these public places.

Only vaccinations approved by the European Medical Authority are approved by the Austrian authorities – Pfizer-BioNtech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna. Vaccination significantly reduces the risk of hospitalization and death.

Austrian police check the man’s identity and vaccination certificate in Voesendorf, Moedling County, Austria on November 16, 2021.

Hans Punz | AFP | Getty Images

Over the weekend, new virus cases in Austria reached an all-time high of 13,152 in one day, according to Johns Hopkins University. On Monday, 11,889 new infections were registered in the country.

About 65% of the Austrian population is fully vaccinated, making it the second lowest vaccination rate in Western Europe after Liechtenstein.

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced new closure restrictions at a press conference on Sunday, and police “follow the rules very consistently and sanction”.

“The situation with the coronavirus in Austria is serious and the fourth wave is just getting us to its fullest. The number of new infections in Austria is higher than ever before,” he told reporters. “The only way to break this pandemic vicious circle is through vaccination.”

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said on Twitter on Tuesday that about 15,000 police inspections were carried out in Austria alone on Monday.

“About 120 violations were found and punished,” he said, adding that the public has shown a high level of cooperation with the authorities.

Police monitor compliance with unlocking of unvaccinated on 15.11.2021 in Innsbruck, Austria.

Jan Hetfleisch | Getty Images

While lawmakers are convinced that the Austrian police are ready to ensure compliance with the ban, the policy has been criticized as difficult to implement.

Unvaccinated people are still allowed to leave their homes for a number of reasons, such as shopping for food, traveling to work if the virus test is negative, or engaging in religious practices.

The lock also faces opposition from Austria’s third-largest political party, the right-wing freedom party, which has called the measure a “Korona apartheid regime” and planned to protest the restrictions in Vienna on Saturday.

Party leader Herbert Kickl said on Facebook on Monday that he had a coronavirus test and would be quarantined for the duration of the incident.

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