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Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

It's going to be cloudy in Austria today with rain possible in Upper Austria and Styria. Vienna should stay dry. (Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP)
It's going to be cloudy in Austria today with rain possible in Upper Austria and Styria. Vienna should stay dry. (Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP)
Find out what's going on in Austria on Wednesday, with The Local's short roundup of today's news.

Braunau exit test expires as Covid-19 infections fall 

Restrictions on leaving the Braunau district ended at midnight on Tuesday, meaning people no longer have to show evidence of a negative test or recovery or vaccination against Covid-19 to leave the area. The district has reached a vaccination rate of over 50 percent and the seven-day incidence also fell to just below 300, broadcaster ORF reports. 

From Wednesday morning, the district can be left again without a “3-G” certificate. The restrictions were in place for ten days. Now the vaccination rate has risen, controls will only come into force once the seven-day incidence reaches 400.

Braunau still has the lowest vaccination rate in Upper Austria, so efforts will continue to increase uptake.

Pandemic leads to rise in illegal ‘private schools’

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a rise in home-schooling and a number of illegal “private schools” springing up in Austria, Der Standard newspaper reports.

It cites an example in which  ten children aged between six and 14 years of age had been taken out of their schools  by their parents, and were found being taught in a private home in Villach.

The paper says 7515 children were taken out of school in 2021, compared to 2600 children in the previous year.

According to the Ministry of Education, joining together to form “learning groups” instead of going to school is not allowed, though study groups are allowed for homework. However, as soon as learning groups set offers that were equivalent to those of a private school, this must be reported to the school authorities.

Private schools should meet requirements such as reporting to the authorities three months before school starts and the school principal must have the appropriate teaching skills. The paper notices in practice it appears to be difficult to enforce this law through legal means.

READ MORE: Austria’s anti-virus measures fuel rise in homeschooling 

Five new swimming pools planned for Vienna

Indoor swimming pools are open once more in Vienna, but Covid-19 rules mean it is difficult for regular swimmers, school children and swimming clubs to find slots, broadcaster ORF reports. Five new swimming pools are planned for the capital, including a training pool at Großfeldsiedlungsbad, scheduled to open in December 2023.

Another training pool for clubs and schools will be built in December 2024 at Simmeringer Bad. Public swimming pools will follow in 2027 at Höpflerbad, 2028 at Laaerbergbad and 2029 in Seestadt in the 22nd district.

Covid-19 pandemic affected Austria’s economy more than financial crisis

The latest figures from Statistics Austria show the extent of the havoc wrought on Austria’s economy by the pandemic. 

In 2020 GDP shrank by a historic level of 6.7 percent, outstripping the impact at the height of the financial crisis in 2009, when the country’s GDP fell 3.8 percent, the Der Standard and Wiener Zeitung newspapers report.


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