Austria closes all nonessential shops in temporary lockdown

Austria: Expert discusses decision to go into lockdown

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Restaurants, bars, hairdressers and theatres have shut their doors until at least December 12, although the measure will be assessed after 10 days. The country also became the first to announce compulsory vaccination. Punishments have yet to be announced for when the new law takes effect in February. Austrian health minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said: “A lockdown, a relatively tough method, a sledgehammer, is the only option to reduce the numbers [of infections] here.”

Tens of thousands protested in Vienna ahead of lockdown armed with national flags and banners reading “Freedom”. They shouted “Resistance!” and booed police.

Meanwhile, in Brussels demonstrators clashed with officers after tens of thousands of people marched through the city centre.

Protesters were opposing Belgium’s Covid passes that stop the unjabbed entering cafes, restaurants and public venues.

The march began peacefully before stones and fireworks were thrown at officers, who responded with tear gas and water cannon.

Over in the Netherlands rioting also took place for the third night in a row. Police arrested 15 in Roosendaal where a primary school was set ablaze.

Elsewhere in the Netherlands, now in a three-week partial lockdown, protesters in The Hague hurled fireworks at police and set fire to bicycles.

In Rotterdam officers opened fire and four protesters were hit.

There were also Covid protests in Croatia’s capital Zagreb as well as Copenhagen.

Dr David Nabarro, a World Health Organisation Covid envoy, said he understood the opposition but added: “I’m really very, very anxious about what I’m seeing right across Europe.”

He pointed to the large numbers of cases and the speed of increase.

Dr Nabarro urged vaccination, adding: “Everybody take it really seriously. This virus has got so many surprises in store for us.”

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