Covid: Austria and Netherlands back into lockdown restrictions as cases rise across Europe

People queue to be vaccinated in Vienna. Credit: PA

Austria and the Netherlands have announced partial lockdowns as Covid cases rise across Europe.

In the Netherlands, the government said the country would enter partial lockdown from Saturday.

For three weeks, bars restaurants and supermarkets will have to close at 8pm, while sports will have to be played in empty stadiums.

Caretaker Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the government wants to "deliver a hard blow to the virus.”

On Friday Austria's chancellor also announced regional lockdowns for unvaccinated people to the countries worst-hit areas.

There is currently a huge push in Austria to get people vaccinated as the situation worsens in the country and across Europe.

The unvaccinated are currently banned from restaurants, hotels, hairdressing salons and large public events.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg warned the unvaccinated in October they would face the consequences if cases rose - and it looks like they are about to.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of “storm clouds” of a new coronavirus wave gathering over parts of Europe, as he urged Brits to get their booster jab.

Alexander Schallenberg has previously warned the unvaccinated. Credit: PA

Official figures showed 760.6 new cases per 100,000 residents over the previous week - a rate three times that of neighbouring Germany.

The latest available data for the UK shows cases were almost half of this at an average of 356.1 cases per 100,000 people.

“I don’t see why two-thirds should lose their freedom because one-third is dithering,” Mr Schallenberg said.

“For me, it is clear that there should be no lockdown for the vaccinated out of solidarity for the unvaccinated.”

Upper Austria province, where nearly 1,200 new cases per 100,000 residents have been reported over the past seven days, plans to take the lead and is awaiting the legal green light to impose restrictions.

The chancellor insisted that “we can break this wave together.”

Austria is not the only country suffering from a rise in cases in Europe.

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German chancellor Angela Merkel said people have a duty to get vaccinated to protect others.

She spoke as Germany grapples with a new surge of infections, which reached a record daily high of 50,000 on Thursday.

"We have to make it clear that I have the right to get vaccinated, and that is a great fortune, a huge achievement of science and technology," Ms Merkel said. "But I also have a certain obligation to contribute to protecting society."


The Dutch government is, reportedly, considering a limited two-week lockdown

The Netherlands announced the highest daily tally of new cases since the pandemic began, and hospitals are warning the situation could get worse, but officials are reluctant to clamp down too hard.


Over 80% of the Spanish population is vaccinated. Credit: PA

Once one of Europe’s hardest-hit nations, perhaps offers an example of how the risks can be managed.

It has vaccinated 80% of its population, and while face masks are no longer mandatory outdoors, many people continue to wear them.

While infections have ticked up slightly recently, Rafael Bengoa, one of Spain’s leading public health experts, said that given the high vaccination rate, “the virus won’t be able to dominate us again”.


Case and hospital numbers are on the rise, with 6,764 people in hospital due to Covid.

The unvaccinated are now being charged for Covid tests, which they need to provide a negative result in order to attend events.

Vaccinations are mandatory for health workers, with 3,000 suspended after refusing the jab.


The country has been plagued by misinformation around vaccines being sent out by social media influencers and religious figures, causing the country to have the highest Covid death rate per capita.

Only 30.7% of the country are fully vaccinated, resulting in doctors writing an open letter to the public asking them to trust them.


Russia reported a record 1,239 deaths from Covid on Wednesday, just two days after many regions came out of a week-long workplace shutdown aiming at stemming the spread.