TOP News

World: Austrian lockdown extended through Dec 11 as planned

Austrians enjoy final day before impending lockdown

  Austrians enjoy final day before impending lockdown VIENNA (AP) — Austrians were enjoying a last day out in coffeehouses and at Christmas markets Sunday before the government imposes a nationwide lockdown to combat a growing fourth wave of coronavirus infections. The measures, which take effect Monday and are expected to last for a maximum of 20 days but will be reevaluated after 10, require people to stay home apart from basic reasons like getting groceries, going to the doctor and exercising. © Provided by Associated Press People sit at an outdoor cafe on a street decorated with Christmas lights in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

BERLIN (AP) — Austria's lockdown has officially been extended until Dec. 11 as planned amid signs that the measures are helping to bring down a sky-high coronavirus infection rate.

Due to the lockdown, restaurants are closed and seats are blocked off in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner): Virus Outbreak Austria © Provided by Associated Press Virus Outbreak Austria

A parliamentary committee signed off Tuesday on the extension of the country's fourth national lockdown of the pandemic, which started on Nov. 22, the Austria Press Agency reported. That was necessary because some lockdown measures can only be ordered for 10 days at a time.

Public spaces are empty due to the lockdown in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner): Virus Outbreak Austria © Provided by Associated Press Virus Outbreak Austria

There is one significant change: essential shops that so far were allowed to open until 9 p.m. will have to close by 7 p.m. starting Thursday. And the rules now allow explicitly for the sale of Christmas trees.

Austria Plans to Make COVID Vaccines Mandatory Next Year as Nation Enters Fourth Lockdown

  Austria Plans to Make COVID Vaccines Mandatory Next Year as Nation Enters Fourth Lockdown Of Austria's population of 8.9 million people, roughly 66 percent are vaccinated as a smaller but expressive minority of residents refuse to get the shots. The new lockdown restrictions allow people to leave their homes only for specific reasons like grocery shopping and exercising. Though parents were asked to keep their children home when possible, kindergartens and schools are remaining open, according to AP.

The government imposed lockdown as COVID-19 deaths rose and hospitals in hard-hit regions warned that intensive care units were reaching capacity. Austria also pledged to be the first European country to mandate vaccines beginning Feb. 1.

Under the lockdown, people can leave their homes only for specific reasons, including buying groceries, going to the doctor or exercising. Day care centers and schools remained open for those who need them, but parents were asked to keep children at home if possible.

Due to the lockdown, shops and restaurants are all closed and a person does ‚Window Shopping' in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner) © Provided by Associated Press Due to the lockdown, shops and restaurants are all closed and a person does ‚Window Shopping' in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

What happens after Dec. 11 will depend on the situation then, but officials say lockdown restrictions will remain for the unvaccinated. Austria has a relatively low vaccination rate for Western Europe, with just under 67% of the population fully vaccinated.

As Europe virus cases surge, UK plows on with its new normal

  As Europe virus cases surge, UK plows on with its new normal LONDON (AP) — The bars are shut in Vienna, and the Christmas market is empty in Munich, as several European nations tighten up or even lock down to combat a spike in coronavirus infections. Meanwhile in London, couples sip mulled wine at a seasonal market near the River Thames, full-capacity audiences fill the seats at the nearby National Theatre, and friends huddle over pints in pubs throughout the city. Not for the first time in the pandemic, Britain is out of step with many of its neighbors. But this time, it’s happy to be different.The U.K.

Due to the lockdown, there are no people at the campus of the University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner) © Provided by Associated Press Due to the lockdown, there are no people at the campus of the University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

The country's seven-day infection rate has begun to decline. It stood at 894.2 cases per 100,000 residents on Tuesday, down from more than 1,100 on the day the lockdown started.

___

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Empty gondola cabins move up and down during a test run in the ski resort of Fulpmes near Innsbruck, Austria, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Photo/Michael Probst) © Provided by Associated Press Empty gondola cabins move up and down during a test run in the ski resort of Fulpmes near Innsbruck, Austria, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Photo/Michael Probst) Two people walk by closed Christmas markets and shops due to the lockdown in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner) © Provided by Associated Press Two people walk by closed Christmas markets and shops due to the lockdown in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

A new era: Scholz set to replace Merkel as Germany's leader .
BERLIN (AP) — Olaf Scholz is set to take office Wednesday as Germany’s ninth post-World War II chancellor, succeeding Angela Merkel after her heralded 16-year tenure. Scholz's government will be taking power with high hopes of modernizing the European Union's most populous nation and combating climate change, but faces the immediate challenge of handling Germany’s toughest phase yet of the coronavirus pandemic. The 63-year-old Scholz, Germany’s vice chancellor and finance minister since 2018, brings a wealth of experience and discipline to an untried coalition of his center-left Social Democrats, the environmentalist Greens and the pro-business Free Democrat

See also