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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

How a boom in social mixing helped fuel Europe’s Covid surge

Of particular concern to demonstrators are vaccine mandates and vaccine passport schemes that restrict the freedoms of the unvaccinated.

Flags and banners carried by protesters at the weekend bore slogans such as “no to vaccination”, “enough is enough” and “down with the fascist dictatorship”.

In Austria, the anti vax movement has been fueled by the country’s politics, causing vaccine rates to remain at less than 60 per cent of the population in some areas.

In September a newly created party of vaccine sceptics was elected to the parliament of Upper Austria, one of the country’s largest and worst hit regions.

Separately, the Freedom Party of Austria, a rightwing populist party which controls some 20 per cent of the vote, is also openly anti vax, with its leader, Herbert Kickl, urging people to take the anti-parisitic agent Ivermectin earlier this year.

At the demonstration on Saturday he said: “As of today, Austria is a dictatorship.”

Erich Neuwirth, a professor of computer science and statistics from Vienna, said a mix of anti vax politics and a “feeling that the pandemic was over” were responsible for Austria’s surge.

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