Thousands protest impending COVID-19 lockdown in Vienna

Thousands of people took to the streets of Vienna, Austria, Saturday in protest of new COVID-19 restrictions set to take place in the city Monday. 

The European country has imposed a lockdown that will begin on Monday amid surging coronavirus cases, according to The Associated Press. The restriction will last for 10 days with the possibility of extending it to 20 days, the wire service reported. 

In this time, people will only be allowed to leave their house for essential outings and exercise. 

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Austria has seen a 100 percent increase over the past two weeks in COVID-19 infections, according to data compiled by The New York Times. The country is also averaging over 13,000 new cases daily, according to the paper. 

“I’m sorry to take this drastic step,” Austrian Chancellor Schallenber said on public broadcaster ORF, adding it was not fair to the 66 percent of individuals who did their part and got vaccinated.

The government announced they will begin mandating the COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 1. 

During the demonstrations on Saturday, protesters waved Austrian flags, held signs mocking Austrian leaders and chanted “resistance” while walking through the city, according to the AP. Around 1,300 officers were on duty to monitor the protest.

Australia also saw protests on Saturday as the government is debating a bill to expand the government’s authority to implement health measures. Australia's state of emergency will end in the middle of December, and the country has implemented some of the strictest coronavirus policies in the world.