Coronavirus. 80 Romanians take train to Austria to take up jobs as care workers

A train carrying 80 Romanian seasonal workers has left the western city of Timisoara for Austria where they will take jobs as care workers.

In a precaution designed to reduce the risk of infection from the coronavirus, the train left Sunday evening and crossed Hungary without stopping before arriving in the capital, Vienna in eastern Austria.

It was the latest batch of workers traveling to Western Europe for better-paid jobs in care and agriculture industry which has sparked anger and debate in Romania.

The train was comprised of five wagons from the Romanian state railway company CFR and another five from the Austrian transport company OBB, Digi24 station reported.

The Romanians passed through a triage area, where they were screened before accessing the platform and respected social distancing rules on the train.

Special measures were taken inside the train, which has 300-350 seats to reduce the risk of contagion. Only 80 people were allowed on the train and they were required to wear masks and gloves during the trip.

After arrival in Vienna, the Romanians will be tested for COVID-19. If the results come back negative, then the families hosting them can come to pick them up. Those who test positive, however, will be placed under quarantine.

Transport Minister Lucian Bode told the station that similar transport could be organized in the future, subject to demand.

In previous weeks, thousands of Romanian seasonal workers have been flying to Germany and the UK, on charter flights for farm jobs.

The first such flights, which took place around Orthodox Easter, sparked outrage after 2,000 people gathered at Cluj airport in northwest Romania for flights to Germany and didn’t respect social distancing measures.

Romanian authorities said at the end of April that about 200 Romanians employed at a slaughterhouse were placed under quarantine after an outbreak of COVID-19 at the facility.


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