In Europe, Austria appears to currently be the leader in introducing ever more draconian tracking measures affecting citizens who don’t have a vaccine passport, in a bid to force them to change their mind and get the shot.
A government decree that came into force on Monday has placed over 20% of Austria’s population – more than 2 million people – who have not been vaccinated in a lockdown that will last for ten days but could be extended, while police officers will patrol the streets and ask people who ventured outside to prove that they have been vaccinated.
The move came as protests were organized in Austria, but also in other countries like the Netherlands, against what demonstrators reject as compulsory vaccination.
In Austria, only children younger than 12 are not covered by the new targeted lockdowns, since vaccination of this part of the population has not yet been greenlit. Meanwhile, everybody else who has not received the Covid jab will only be allowed to leave the house to go to work, buy food, or get the vaccine.
The government justified this push to get more people vaccinated – the 65% of the population who have been inoculated is considered a low number, while new Covid cases are rising on a daily basis – as the need to “protect the people.”
Another country that is reintroducing lockdowns amid growing Covid numbers is the Netherlands, where 85% of the population has been vaccinated. But that didn’t prevent a record surge in new cases about a month and a half after social distancing restrictions were lifted – ostensibly as unnecessary due to what was considered a successful vaccination campaign.
But when the Dutch government decided to bring back partial lockdowns set to last for three weeks, ordering restaurants and bars to close by 8 pm, and also affecting sporting events and stores, protesters took to the streets.
The peaceful demonstration in The Hague last Friday turned violent when people started throwing stones and flares while the police used water cannons to disperse them. Officers were then seen chasing citizens away using batons.