Testen, testing. Testing. In Austria the number of infections with a seven-day incidence of 108 per 100,000 inhabitants is almost twice as high as in Germany. But the country is trying to get out of the grip of the virus with a comprehensive testing strategy. In the past week alone, more than 1.5 million antigen and PCR tests were carried out in factories and pharmacies, communal test lanes and medical practices. Hundreds of thousands of “nose drill” tests in schools are not counted.
From March onwards there will be more drilling, gargling and leveling. The n there are self-tests in the pharmacy for each of the almost 9 million inhabitants – free of charge and up to 5 pieces per month. The government has announced that the federal government will bear the costs.
“ The main breakwater”
“This makes it easy to play it safe at home, too,” the Austrian press agency APA quotes Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP). Intensive testing is the key to the best possible control of the infection process. “Tests are currently our most important breakwater against a massive increase in infections due to the first careful opening steps,” says Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens).
The only flaw:
The se tests are only for your own control. A negative result does not entitle you to visit the hairdresser or other providers of “body-friendly services”. On the other hand, the negative antigen or PCR test remains the measure of all things, as has been the case since the beginning of last week with the cautious opening of stores after a six-week lockdown. Further opening steps, for example for restaurants or hotels, are currently not in sight.
“We are among the countries that test the most in Europe. We are the first in Europe with the school tests, ”says Kurz. All in all, two million people were tested in the past week. This week they want to increase the number to up to 3.5 million.
Because with the end of the winter holidays, all schools are now being searched for a virus infection across the board. According to Education Minister Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP), 2.2 million nose drill tests are to be carried out in schools every week – even if their informative value is less than that of a PCR test. Not only are the students tested, but also teachers and administrative staff.
More than 500 test stations in the federal states and municipalities currently offer the Corona test throughout Austria. More than 800 pharmacies, i.e. one in three, offer free antigen tests. 730 companies with more than 350,000 employees are now taking part in test campaigns in companies. The government shoots 10 euros for each test.