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Facing Surge, Austria Will Mandate COVID-19 Shots, Lock Down

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People line up for vaccination in front of the St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg says the country will go into a national lockdown to contain a fourth wave of coronavirus cases. Schallenberg said the lockdown will start Monday, Nov.22 and initially last for 10 days. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

(AP) — Austria announced a new national lockdown and a plan to mandate vaccinations as coronavirus infections hit a record high, forcing the government to walk back promises that such blanket shutdowns were a thing of the past.

Imposing a mandate would give Austria one of the world’s most stringent vaccine requirements. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said those who didn’t comply would likely be fined but gave no other details.

Friday’s moves come as vaccinations in Austria have plateaued at one of the lowest rates in Western Europe and as hospitals in heavily hit states have warned that their intensive care units are reaching capacity.

 

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