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Pedestrians walk through the city center during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak when the Austrian government imposed a general lockdown in Salzburg, Austria on November 22, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS / Lukas Barth)

VIENNA / BERLIN: On Monday (November 22nd) Austria was the first country in Western Europe to re-impose a ban on the continent since the introduction of vaccines.

Germany will also need stricter restrictions to control a record-breaking wave of infections, the outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted as saying, remarks that will wipe out profits in European stock markets and cause bond yields to fall.

Since Europe is once again the epicenter of the global The pandemic, which first resulted in lockdowns in March 2020, is expected to see new restrictions and vaccination regulations spreading in China nearly two years after the first COVID-19 case was identified.

“We are in one highly dramatic situation. What is there now is not enough, “said Merkel, according to two participants in a meeting in front of the party leadership of her conservative CDU, thereby confirming that Comments from Bloomberg.

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn urged people to be vaccinated and said he was sure that everyone in Germany would be “vaccinated, recovered or dead” by the end of winter.

Austria demanded encourage people to work from home whenever possible and close cafes, restaurants, bars, theaters, and non-essential businesses for 10 days. People can leave home for a limited number of reasons, such as: B. to go to work, to buy the bare minimums or to go for a walk.

The Austrian government has also announced that it will make vaccination compulsory from February 1st. Many Austrians are skeptical of vaccinations, a view supported by the right-wing extremist Freedom Party, the third largest in parliament.

“It’s like being in a luxury prison. It’s definitely a restricted freedom and for me it’s not psychologically great, “said Sascha Iamkovyi, a 43-year-old entrepreneur in the food sector, and described his return to lockdown on a cool, cloudy day in an unusually quiet Vienna.

” People were promised that they would if they were vaccinated can lead a normal life, but that’s not true now. “

The return of strict state restrictions in Austria had already brought around 40,000 demonstrators to the streets of Vienna on Saturday, and the protests culminated in Brussels and in the the whole of the Netherlands in violence.

About a third of Austrians are unvaccinated, one of the highest rates in Western Europe, and the authorities mainly do I am responsible for the current wave of COVID, although the protection against vaccines administered earlier this year is also waning. Vaccination greatly reduces the risk of serious illness or death, and does not prevent virus transmission or reinfection.

Austria’s conservative-led government imposed a lockdown on unvaccinated people last week, but daily infections continued to rise well above the previous high , which made a complete closure this week necessary.

In many parts of Germany, including the capital Berlin, Christmas markets opened again on Monday for the first time in two years. But the neighboring countries of Austria and the Czech Republic with the highest number of cases in Germany have introduced stricter rules, canceled Christmas markets, banned unvaccinated people from restaurants and bars and imposed curfews at night.

There are some in Eastern European countries where vaccination rates are even lower The highest death toll per capita in the world, with hospitals being overcrowded in countries like Bulgaria and Romania.

Riots broke out in cities in the Netherlands when police clashed with angry youths, who set fires and threw stones to protest COVID-19 restrictions. More than 100 people were arrested in three nights of violence, during which the police opened fire on rioters in Rotterdam on Friday.

Police and protesters clashed on the streets of Brussels on Sunday. Officials fired water cannons and tear gas at demonstrators who threw stones and smoke bombs.

In France, proof of vaccination or a new negative test is required to visit restaurants and cinemas. President Emmanuel Macron said last week no further lockdowns were needed.

But last week violence broke out on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe amid protests against COVID-19 restrictions such as mandatory vaccines for health workers.

Police arrested at least 38 people and ransacked dozens of stores. Macron said Monday the protests created a “very explosive” situation as a general strike went into the second week on Monday and many stores were closed.

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Ref: https://www.channelnewsasia.com