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Austria imposes lockdown for people who aren't vaccinated

With COVID-19 infections and deaths on the rise, the Austrian government has imposed a lockdown for residents who have not been vaccinated against the virus.

The lockdown went into effect early Monday, and for at least the next 10 days, unvaccinated people 12 and older can only leave their homes if they are doing something essential like going to work, or buying groceries, or getting vaccinated. Kids under 12 are excluded from the lockdown because they aren't yet permitted to get the vaccine.

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told reporters on Sunday that the concern is if the number of cases keeps going up, hospitals will soon be overwhelmed. "It's our job as the government of Austria to protect the people," he said. "Therefore we decided that starting Monday ... there will be a lockdown for the unvaccinated." Extra police officers will be out checking to make sure people on the streets are vaccinated, Schallenberg added, and anyone found in violation of the lockdown order could be fined up to €1,450 ($1,660).

Austria has one of Western Europe's lowest vaccination rates, with only 65 percent of the population fully vaccinated. On Sunday, there were 11,552 new COVID-19 cases reported, up from 8,554 last week. Looking at the seven-day infection rate, Schallenberg said that "the rate for the unvaccinated is at over 1,700, while for the vaccinated it is at 383." He called on those who have been fully vaccinated to get their booster shots, or else "we will never get out of this vicious circle."