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Austria reports 1st Covid-19 death, school closure ordered to stem Covid-19 spread

By Hector Pascua, Austria

Vienna--The Austrian government ordered all schools to halt all classes for pupils from ages 14 and above from Wednesday, March 11 until Easter. The decision was announced by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in a press conference yesterday.

Austria reported its first coronavirus-related death yesterday triggering drastic measures imposed by the government. A 69-year-old man died on the night of Thursday in Vienna's Kaiser Franz-Josefspital, according to the medical crisis team in Vienna.

All over Austria, schools will be partially closed from Monday to stem the spread of Covid-19. From Monday, March 16, the school closure will initially affect pupils from the ninth grade upwards affecting 410,000 pupils from the 9th to 13th grade levels attending upper secondary shools, vocational secondary school, and polytechnic or vocational schools.

From Wednesday, March 18, the closure will also cover all other pupils in the lower levels affecting 350,00 pupils at the primary schools and another 340,00 from the lower and new secondary schools. In total, more than 690,00 students are affected. There will, however, be provided childcare facilities in the schools for pupils from the 8th grade and lower levels.

The closure also includes children in childcare facilities. While the government advises that these children stay at home, childcare facilities will be provided for those who need them. The government also cautioned parents not to leave their children with their grandparents due to the risk of infection.

In order to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the health sector, Vienna health city Councillor Peter Hacker also announced that restrictions will be imposed on Vienna's municipal hospitals. Visits to the sick will be prohibited until further notice. In order to enforce this measure, entrance controls will be carried out in all hospitals.

The Austrian government orders all schools closed in all levels; imposes strict restrictions in hospitals

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