Austria’s lockdown is looking infectious

LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Austria’s lockdown may spread as quickly as Covid-19. On Friday, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced a national lockdown beginning on Monday and introduced Europe’s first vaccine mandate. Austria and its neighbours had been hoping that a targeted lockdown for vaccine holdouts might avert blanket restrictions, however soaring infection rates have already stretched intensive care facilities to the brink.

Investors are preparing for further restrictions. On Friday, shares in online food delivery company HelloFresh (HFGG.DE) were up 6.5% and Just Eat’s (TKWY.AS) stock was up 6%. Austria is a minor market for both companies. European airline shares also suggest the pain will spread throughout the continent. British Airways owner International Airlines Group’s (ICAG.L) stock was down 6% and easyJet (EZJ.L) took a similar hit. German leaders are discussing lockdown options today. But with vaccine holdouts refusing to budge and hospitals filling up, blanket restrictions look inevitable. (By Aimee Donnellan)

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