EXPLAINED: How will Vienna’s shipping container rapid testing plan work?

EXPLAINED: How will Vienna’s shipping container rapid testing plan work?
Coronavirus testing in Vienna. Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP
Rapid coronavirus tests will be available at containers in several locations across Vienna from Thursday. Here’s what you need to know.

From Thursday November 12th, Vienna will add a new string to its testing bow: testing in shipping containers at several sites across the city. 

Known as ‘Coronavirus Checkboxes’, they are a network of shipping containers where rapid tests are carried out. 

Currently in Favoriten near the Laaerbergbad with another at Mildeplatz in Ottakring and another at Donaustadt. There are expected to be 30 containers across the city by the end of November if the early rollout is successful. 

READ: Vienna announces third drive-in coronavirus testing site 

The containers have been set up to reduce the burden on doctors and other medical facilities while also separating people who are possibly infected with Covid-19 from other patients at medical facilities. 

Vice President of the Vienna Medical Association, Johannes Steinhart, welcomed the scheme and said it was important that people who may have the coronavirus be treated at one of the containers rather than risking infecting people at medical facilities. 

“The other sick people are not gone. They should all go to the ordinations now. We cannot need any collateral damage and at the same time we have to have the pandemic under control.”

In particular, they have been rolled out at the start of ‘flu’ season to help concerned residents get tested easily and quickly to see if they are carrying a cold, the flu or Covid-19. 

Vienna currently has a separate drive-in testing scheme with three sites across the city

How does it work?

Doctors are on site in the containers. 

With test results available within 15 minutes, patients are told to wait until their results are available. 

Anyone who returns a negative test will be treated on site by the medical staff, while those who record positive tests will be forced to quarantine and take a PCR test to confirm the infection.

Testing will be free, according to Die Presse – although who will eventually pay the bill is not yet certain. 

The City of Vienna has agreed to cover the costs of setting up the containers, but is hopeful that the federal government will cover the costs of the tests. 

Vienna has purchased two million antigen tests for the scheme. 

Anyone with symptoms can book an appointment here

Appointments are available between 7am and 7pm in ten minute slots. 

Appointments are necessary, confirmed City Councilor for Health Peter Hacker (SPÖ), who is partially responsible for the rollout of the scheme. 

“We ask for your understanding that you can't just come here. We don't want long queues and people to freeze in the cold with colds and coughs,” he said.


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