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

Children of a school class test themselves on Covid-19 with the so-called 'lollipop test', which is a pool PCR test for the coronavirus
A schoolchild carries out a Covid-19 test. Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP
Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

Back to school

Austria’s schools re-open today, and remain in a Sicherheitsphase (‘safety phase’) which means masks must be worn in all enclosed areas of the school and students must take Covid tests three times per week regardless of their vaccination status. 

These measures were initially in place until at least the end of this week, but that has now been extended to February 28th.

If there is a single confirmed case of Covid-19 in a class, classroom teaching continues and only the child who tested positive needs to stay at home. However, the remaining children must then be tested each day for five days, and if another coronavirus case is found within three days, the whole class must switch to distance learning.

Nehammer tests positive for Covid-19

Austria’s head of government Karl Nehammer on Friday tested positive for Covid-19, the chancellery announced. Nehammer, who has received two doses of vaccine and a booster, had not however experienced any symptoms, it added.

More than 10,000 Covid cases reported on Sunday

The number of new cases is continuing to trend upwards, with the seven-day incidence rate reaching 617 over the weekend. In Salzburg and Tyrol, where winter ski tourism is thought to be partly behind high spread of infection, the incidence rate is around twice the national average.

Police stop suspected trafficker in Vienna

Vienna police have held a man on suspicion of trafficking after finding 14 people from Syria and Turkey in the back of a van, following a tip-off from a witness. Some of the men in the vehicle said they had given the driver money for the journey, police said.

The man initially identified himself with an apparently forged driving licence, but police said they established his identity “beyond doubt” with a passport, and are investigating the 36-year-old on suspicion of trafficking.

A man fatally shot his wife in the first femicide of the year

A 46-year-old man killed his wife in Linz over the weekend, Upper Austrian police said on Sunday. The death has renewed calls from campaigners for more robust policies to tackle violence against women.

In 2021, Austria saw 31 known femicides (women being killed in gendered violence, usually by current or former partners).

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