UPDATE: Austria angers many with complete lockdown and Germany could follow suit


Austria will become the first Western European country to reinstate a full COVID19 lockdown, it said on Friday as neighboring Germany warned it could follow suit, sending chills to markets financial worried about the economic fallout. 

A fourth wave of infections has plunged Germany, Europe’s largest economy, into a national emergency, Health Minister Jens Spahn said, warning that vaccinations alone will not reduce the number of cases. 

where skepticism about state mandates regarding individual freedoms is high, encouraged by the far-right Freedom Party, the third in parliament. 

Party leader Herbert Kickl posted a photo on Facebook that read: ÔÇťAustria is a dictatorship to this day. The party is planning a protest on Saturday, but Kickl cannot participate because he has tested positive for COVID19. 

About two-thirds of eligible citizens in Austria are fully vaccinated against COVID19, one of the lowest rates in Western Europe, and its infections are among the highest in Europe, with an incidence of 991 days per 100,000 people.

“We have not been able to vaccinate enough people,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said at a press conference, saying the lockdown would begin on Monday and the obligation to be vaccinated in February. “It hurts that such steps have yet to be taken. 

When asked if Germany could rule out a complete Austrian-style blockade, Spahn said:” We are now in a situation even if this produces an alert in which we can not exclude. “We are in a national emergency,” he said at a press conference. 

European stocks retreated from record highs as government bond yields, oil prices and the euro collapsed as the specter of a new COVID-linked bloc in Germany and elsewhere other parts of Europe cast a new shadow on the world economy.

“We are planning targeted measures (against COVID19) in certain countries mainly depending on the health situation, but other factors, such as national political situations, will be relevant,” analysts from Oxford Economics said in a statement.

“And although it may take some time before political consensus can be reached in other countries, it is clear that the tide has turned. As cases rise again, a number of European governments have started reimposing limits on activities, ranging from a complete lockdown of Austria to a partial lockdown in the Netherlands, more laws and restrictions on the unvaccinated in parts of Germany, the Czech Republic and from Slovakia.


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