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80 Romanian Health Care Workers Arrive in Austria to Assist Elderly

Romanian care workers with face masks accompanied by police and security arrive at the train station of Vienna's Schwechat airport, Austria, May 11, 2020.

Eighty health care workers from Romania arrived in Vienna, Austria, Monday on a chartered train.

The workers, mostly female, have been hired to care for elderly people who require around the clock attention.

Austrian EU minister Karoline Edstadler said the negotiations to bring the workers to Austria were not easy and the logistics were time-consuming but the result would be positive.

"We know there is a demand. We know that many care workers have been in Austria for many weeks. Of course, demand has to be evaluated constantly. And when you start something it takes a while until it's fully established. During this crisis it wasn't quite so easy to get all the necessary permits for the trains - especially inside Romania. Now the time has come and I expect that this opportunity will be used," said Edstadler.

Initially, the workers have to stay at a hotel and be tested for COVID-19. If the test results are negative, they will travel to various destinations in Austria, as needed.

Another train bringing more health care workers to Austria is expected to arrive Thursday.

The trains then will transport back to Romania care workers who have been stuck in Austria because of the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

According to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University, Austria has more than 15,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 618 deaths. Romania has more than 15,300 and 961 respectively.