Earlier this week, Austria implemented new lockdown measures for those who were not vaccinated against Covid-19. This decision was made on top of new rules which had been issued the week prior which banned unvaccinated people visiting places like restaurants and cinemas.
However, the country is now set to go into full lockdown as Covid cases continue to rise.
This is what you need to know - and if UK tourists are impacted by the new rules.
What’s happening in Austria?
Austria has announced that a new Covid-19 lockdown across the country will come into force on Monday (22 November).
The announcement comes days after a partial lockdown only affecting the unvaccinated was announced.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said that the new lockdown would last for a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 20 days - and that from 1 February 2022, Covid-19 vaccines would become a legal requirement.
Schallenberg said that Austria doesn’t “want a fifth wave” and that the move to make vaccinations mandatory comes because many people had been influenced not to get jabbed because of “too many political forces, flimsy vaccination opponents and fake news”.
He said: “Whipped up by radical anti-vaxxers, by fake news, too many among us didn’t get vaccinated.
“The results are overcrowded intensive care units and enormous suffering.”
The new lockdown will see students return to home schooling, restaurants and stores closing their doors and events once again being cancelled.
Previously, Schallenberg said that the Covid-19 situation in the country is “serious” and that it’s the job “as the Government of Austria to protect the people”.
The decision makes Austria the first EU country to implement a full lockdown this winter.
What is the vaccination rate in Austria?
Only around 65% of the total population in Austria is fully vaccinated, with the country holding one of the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe.
Schallenberg said that the vaccine rate in Austria is “shamefully low”.
In the UK, 87.9% of people have had their first dose, 80% have had both doses and 21.9% have received their third, or Booster, dose.
How does the lockdown affect UK tourists?
As it stands, fully vaccinated tourists from the UK, who can provide proof of vaccination, are able to travel to Austria without the need to self isolate upon arrival.
If you decide to travel with a printed PDF proof of vaccination status, you must ensure that it is date from after 1 November to allow it to be scanned properly.
However, if you’re looking to holiday in Austria between 22 November and 2 December (and potentially 22 December), it might be best to postpone.
Visitors must abide by the country’s lockdown rules - this means no leaving your accommodation, unless for “essential” reasons like buying food; restaurants, cafes, bars and the like will be closed; tourist attractions will also be closed, and any planned cultural events also cancelled.
If you’re unable to provide proof of vaccination, you are still able to gain entry to the country, but a few more steps are required.
You must present a negative Covid test, complete a pre-travel clearance form no more than 72 hours prior to entry to Austria, and you’ll be required to self isolate for 10 days. PCR test results must be no older than 72 hours and lateral flow tests no more than 48 hours old.
Even after isolating for 10 days, you must still abide by the lockdown measures.
For those who are vaccination, Austria is one of the only countries to implement an expiration date for vaccines.
For single shot vaccines, such as Johnson and Johnson, you must show that you received the jab more than 21 but no more than 270 days before arrival.
For double shot vaccines, like AstraZeneca and Pfizer, you must be able to show that you received your second jab no more than 360 days prior to your arrival.
If you received a booster shot more than 120 days after being fully immunised, this must not be more than 360 days before arrival.
When in Austria, face masks are compulsory on public transport, taxis and public spaces like shops.
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