Austria to enter full national lockdown and bring in mandatory vaccinations amid rising Covid cases

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports from Austria, one of the continent's numerous Covid hotspots

Austria is to go into a nationwide lockdown next week amid a rise in Covid-19 cases, with mandatory vaccinations to be enforced from February.

The country had already announced a partial lockdown, applying to only unvaccinated people, but chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said further measures were needed to contain another wave of coronavirus cases.

The lockdown will start on Monday and initially last for 10 days. Students will have to go back into home schooling, restaurants will close and cultural events will be cancelled.

From February 2022, vaccinations will also become mandatory Austria's public broadcast ORF reported.

Covid rates vs vaccination rates across Europe

Why is Austria going back into lockdown?

In recent weeks, Austria has faced a worrying rise in infections.

The World Health Organisation reported 15,609 new cases on Thursday, up from 12,000 the week before.

Authorities are concerned rising infections and deaths will put hospitals under pressure during the winter months.

The country has one of the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe, with only around 65% of the total population fully vaccinated.

Back in the UK, Boris Johnson has warned a new wave of Covid could be coming to Britain from Europe.

The prime minister urged the public to get their booster jabs in order to combat the rise in cases seen in other parts of the continent.

Will the UK be next to bring back a lockdown? ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan explains why the answer is likely to be no

Mr Johnson described "storm clouds" of a new coronavirus wave are gathering over parts of Europe.

"We have been here before and we remember what happens when a wave starts rolling in," he warned earlier this week.