Inside Austria’s lockdown for the unvaccinated

Inside Austria’s lockdown for the unvaccinated. By Freddie Sayers.

I’m in Vienna on day one of the world’s first lockdown for only the unvaccinated. …

As of midnight last night, around 30% of the adult population have been legally mandated to stay inside their homes. They are allowed to leave only to buy essential food, to travel to and from essential work and for physical exercise. Leisure of any kind is forbidden. In effect, this means that two million Austrians are currently under partial house arrest.

What strikes me most is the class inflection to the whole thing. We started this morning on one of the fancier shopping streets in the old town, full of Rolex and Karl Lagerfeld stores in which well-heeled locals lined up to express their support for the lockdown. There is very little sympathy for a truculent minority that is seen as “stupid” and “having brought it on themselves”.

On the same street, however, if you approach the people wearing fluorescent vests, guarding the stores and making deliveries, you tend to get a different response. They are more reluctant to speak to us, but decidedly less supportive. “It is bullshit,” was one man’s pithy response.

Questions about the practical efficacy of such a measure don’t seem to be of much interest. When I ask people if they know that vaccinated people can also contract and transmit Covid, they tend to brush it aside as a minor detail. …

For the Government, the motivation, as always, is mainly to be seen to be doing something

But for the majority of voters that support it I can’t escape the sense that the motivation is at least partly punitive. They don’t understand people who are not taking the vaccine, they don’t like them, and they are slightly afraid of them — so the simplest thing is to remove them from society altogether.

How woke, dividing the population into good people and bad people on the basis of half truths and political fantasies.