Austria has introduced new measures to combat rising COVID-19 infections by targeting those who remained unvaccinated.

From Monday (today), only vaccinated people and those who have recovered from COVID-19 will be allowed to eat in restaurants, attend sporting events or use ski lifts in the country.

The rule also applies in hotels and for services such as hairdressing salons.

“We believe that this can make a strong contribution to curbing what is happening,“ Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler said on Austrian television on Sunday.

He added that regional authorities could introduce even tougher measures if they felt they were necessary, including local lockdowns as a last resort.

So far, more than a quarter of people in Austria aged 12 and over still do not have a vaccination certificate, which has been cited as one of the main reasons for the steeply rising number of cases and hospital admissions.

The seven-day incidence in Austria is currently 599.6 per 100,000 people.

In Upper Austria and the Salzburg region, the two federal states with the lowest vaccine uptake levels, the incidence has exceeded the 900 mark.

At the weekend, rising vaccination figures were reported from all over the country.

The new measures are being phased in over a four-week period, during which proof of a first vaccine and a negative PCR test will be sufficient.

Children under 12 years of age were exempt from the regulations, and a negative test is sufficient for 13 to 15-year-olds.

People who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons may continue to participate in public life with a medical certificate and PCR test.

In Austria, rapid and PCR tests are free of charge for everyone.

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