Austria Covid Cluster Breaks Out at Panel Probing Toxic Politics


An Austrian parliamentary committee hearing about the inner workings of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s previous administration with right-wing nationalists has exposed the country’s political elite to a new risk.

A coronavirus cluster of at least 339 people broke out from the hearings after infected Freedom Party lawmaker Christian Hafenecker appeared last week. Two other deputies attending the probe into government corruption have also tested positive with hundreds of potential contacts identified at a weekend conference of the Green party.

The far-right Freedom Party has campaigned against coronavirus restrictions, including efforts to contain the pandemic in Austria with rules making face masks mandatory. Hafenecker has rejected available vaccines and didn’t wear a mask at the hearing.

The nation of almost 9 million people registered 85 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, lifting the 7-day incidence to 6.7 form the lowest in a year last week.

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