Austrian chancellor tests positive for Covid-19

Austria's head of government Karl Nehammer on Friday tested positive for Covid-19, the chancellery announced.

Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer
Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer arrives to attend an European Union Summit with all 27 EU leaders at The European Council Building in Brussels on December 16, 2021.(Photo by JOHANNA GERON / POOL / AFP)

Nehammer, who has received two doses of vaccine and a booster, had not however experienced any symptoms, it added.

“No cause for worry, I’m fine,” the Austrian chancellor wrote in a statement.

READ ALSO: PROFILE: Who is Karl Nehammer, Austria’s new chancellor?

“I continue to plead: get vaccinated, have a booster, these will certainly protect you against any serious form” of the virus.

The chancellor explained that he had become infected via a member of his security team who had tested positive.

After Nehammer himself tested positive on a PCR test, he immediately self-isolated at home, where he will carry out his duties via phone and video conferencing for the next days.

The wearing of FFP2 masks is compulsory in many public settings in Austria, including some outdoor areas now, and Nehammer wore one in all of his Thursday meetings where other Covid safety measures were also in place, the statement said. 

Austria is currently in a lockdown for the unvaccinated, who make up about 30 percent of the population — among the highest in western Europe.

In November, Austria became the first and so far only country in Europe to announce that Covid-19 vaccines would become mandatory for all eligible residents.

The mandate, which comes into effect in February, has pushed some vaccine sceptics to get the jab. But tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest it.


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