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Austrian police have been filmed performing random spot checks on citizens, patrolling shops and demanding to see vaccine passports as the alpine nation enters a strict 'lockdown for the unvaccinated' to stem the rising tide of Covid-19 cases. Watch below:
The restrictions, which came into effect on Monday (15 November), are set to affect almost 2 million Austrian citizens over the age of 12 who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Those who are unvaccinated will be banned from leaving their homes for anything other than essential travel until they can show proof of vaccination.
Anyone caught breaching lockdown rules can now face fines ranging from €500 - €3600 (£422 - £3039).
Now video footage has emerged showing police officers swarming through shop floors and accosting groups of people as they keep a careful eye on shoppers and enforce the strict new rules.
A group of three police officers can be seen demanding proof of vaccination from shoppers who appear to hold out their vaccine passports.
Elsewhere, additional footage can be seen of police setting up roadside checks, forcing drivers to stop their cars and give proof they have been jabbed to allow them to be out and about.
"It can happen any time and anywhere," the interior minister, Karl Nehammer of the Austrian People's party, said of the police checks.
"Every citizen has to expect to be checked."
His claim was later corroborated by Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, who said: "We are not taking this step lightly, but unfortunately it is necessary,"
"In reality, we have told one-third of the population: you will not leave your [home] apart for certain reasons.
"That is a massive reduction in contacts between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated."
The restrictions, which are initially set to last for 10 days, have been put in place as Austria has recorded almost 840 new cases per 100,000 people, the highest infection rate in western Europe and the highest recorded in the country since the start of the pandemic.
On Monday, Austria reported 11,889 new cases and 40 new deaths.
Only around 65% of Austria's population have to date been fully vaccinated - one of the lowest rates in Western Europe.
However, since the restrictions were announced, over 130,000 Austrians have chosen to receive their first dose of the Covid vaccine, the highest weekly number recorded since it first became available in early July.
The UK, which has also been recording a similar number of weekly Covid deaths relative to its population, has so far declined to reintroduce any restrictions on social movement.
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