Austria to implement Covid vaccine mandate

Vienna: Austria will make Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for all adults starting from Saturday, becoming the first European Union country to introduce such a sweeping mandate.

The mandate was signed into law by President Alexander Van der Bellen on Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Before that, both houses of Parliament had approved the bill.

The mandate will apply to all adults in the Alpine country except pregnant women and those with medical exemptions.

From mid-March, police will start checking people’s vaccination status during routine checks, and unvaccinated people who fail to comply with government reminders to get the jab could face fines of up to 3,600 euros ($4,100).

Austria first announced plans to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory in November last year in a bid to drive up vaccination rates and contain surging infections.

The country, with a population of about 9 million, has so far reported nearly 2 million Covid-19 cases, according to the Austrian Interior Ministry.

Due to the highly infectious Omicron variant, daily infections in the country have been hovering around 30,000 cases in the past two weeks.

Official data showed that till date, 75.7 per cent of the Austrian population had received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

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