Amid a national lockdown of the unvaccinated, police in Austria are patrolling stores and stopping cars to check the vaccination status of citizens and residents.
Officers were seen in an Austria television report stopping shoppers in a retail outlet and ordering them to display on their smartphone’s vaccination verification for COVID-19.
In reaction to a spike in COVID cases and ICU patients, Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said Sunday, “People who are unvaccinated can leave their homes only for ‘essential reasons’ such as shopping for food.”
Unvaccinated people are still permitted to leave their homes for several reasons, such as grocery shopping, traveling to work provided they test negative for the virus, or to take part in religious practices.
Schallenberg added, “In reality we have told one third of the population: You will not leave your apartment anymore apart from certain reasons. That is a massive reduction in contacts between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.”
Anyone caught away from home without proof of vaccination faces fines of 500 euros, or about $572. Anyone who refused to be checked can be fined an additional 1,450 euros ($1658), BBC News reported.
An estimated 37% of the population of the Central European nations is unvaccinated. The new restrictions apply to everyone over the age of 12 who has not had two doses of the vaccine, with exception to those recently fully recovered from the virus.
Karl Nehammer, the nation’s interior minister, issued a stern warning to the Austrian people at a news conference on Sunday, saying “As of tomorrow, every citizen, every person living in Austria, must be aware that they can be checked by the police at any time.”
Twitter user Anna S. Phillips, who says she lives in Austria, said, “I am 20 years old and healthy yet the government denies my freedom. “I see too many thanking the government for stepping in, for taking care of the situation, the unhinged unvaccinated. This country hasn’t learned one lesson of its own history and it shows.”
The leader of the far-right opposition Freedom Party Herbert Kickl, vowed to combat the new restrictions by “all parliamentary and legal means we have available.” He said, “Two million people are being practically imprisoned without have done anything wrong.”
According to a Reuters report, “In neighboring Germany the federal government and leaders of Germany’s 16 states will meet next week to discuss tightening measures against the spread of COVID-19.
Germany already requires people coming from Austria to go into quarantine, a major blow to Austria’s winter tourism.
We appreciate WND News Service for comments in this article.