Around 10,000 protestors gathered on Sunday in Austria to protest the announcement of Austria’s new quarantine imposed on the unvaccinated only.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced that as of Monday morning, unvaccinated Austrians ages 12 and older would be forced to remain in their homes except for essential activities.
Thousands of protesters rallied against the announcement, which is seen as another effort to take away a person’s right to make their own medical decisions. Citizens from all backgrounds united to show their opposition to the Austrian government’s strict policies, leading to numerous arrests being made by Austrian authorities.
Chancellor Schallenberg prefaced the announcement of the new quarantine mandate, saying, “We are not taking this step lightly, but unfortunately it is necessary.”
In Sunday’s statement, Chancellor Schallenberg also stated: “Our task as the federal government is to protect the people of Austria. We are fulfilling this responsibility.”
Austria’s new quarantine mandate is part of the latest effort to combat surging cases of Covid-19 in Europe. According to the Live Covid-19 Vaccination Tracker, less than 65 percent of Austria’s 8.9 million population have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19. This percentage, one of the lowest vaccination percentages in Europe, prompted the Austrian government to respond by mandating a quarantine for non-essential activities for the unvaccinated.
The New York Times reported, “Under new rules announced by the government on Sunday, adults and minors 12 and older who have not been vaccinated or recovered from a coronavirus infection cannot go outside except to buy groceries, seek medical care or travel to school or work.”
These restrictions are the first in the world to affect only those who are unvaccinated. The Austrian government also announced that police will be on patrol to ensure that the unvaccinated population is remaining indoors. Reports indicate the fine for violating this new lockdown could amount up to 1,450 euros, or $1,660.
Chancellor Schallenberg claims that the goal of the new mandate is to motivate the unvaccinated to “get themselves vaccinated.” However, many Austrians see this as a form of discrimination between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, a concern that has been echoed many times in the United States.
In the United States, the Biden administration is receiving intense blowback for efforts to mandate federal workers, healthcare workers, and businesses with over 100 employees to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. With anti-vaccine mandate protests sweeping the globe, many are left wondering whether freedom or government overreach will prevail.