Austria has returned to a full national lockdown as protests against new restrictions aimed at curbing Covid-19 infections spread across Europe. Rioting broke out at the Hague on Saturday over the Dutch government’s new coronavirus measures. Video from the scene shows riot police deploying water cannons and charging groups of demonstrators. Tens of thousands of people protested in the capital Vienna ahead of the lockdown. They brandished national flags, and banners with inscription “Freedom”. Infection rate has risen sharply on the continent, prompting warnings from the World Health Organizations (WHO). According to officials, the lockdown will last at least 10 days but could extend to 20.
This makes Austria the first western European country to reimpose a full shutdown since vaccines became widely available.
Under the measures, people can only leave home for specific reasons, including buying groceries, going to the doctor, or exercising.
Austrians are being told to work from home.
Restaurants, bars, hairdressers, theatres and non-essential shops must all close their doors.
Austria is also introducing a vaccine mandate as of February 1 in a bid to curtail transmission rates, making it the first European country to make certain vaccination against Covid-19 as a legal requirement.