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

Rapid coronavirus tests will be available at containers in several locations across Vienna from Thursday. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will Vienna’s shipping container rapid testing plan work?
Coronavirus testing in Vienna. Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP

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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EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

Austria's capital city Vienna has begun registration appointments for those who want to get a monkeypox vaccine. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

As of September 9th, people can make reservations for monkeypox vaccination in Vienna, authorities announced. It is possible to register for the vaccine using the health service line by calling 1450 or via the Impfservice website.

The City of Vienna has said the pre-registration is needed because all planning will be done through a central system due to a shortage of vaccines.

“Please understand that due to the vaccine shortage, we cannot offer preventive monkeypox vaccination to everyone interested. We can use the reservation platform to quickly allocate available appointments and contact interested parties as soon as there are more vaccines”, the authorities said.

After the registration, people will be contacted to book appointments on September 14th. The first available date will be September 19th.

READ ALSO: Monkeypox in Austria: What causes it and is it serious?

Who should be vaccinated against monkeypox?

Vaccination of the general population is currently not recommended.

Preventive vaccination is only offered to health care workers with a very high risk of exposure to people with monkeypox (designated monkeypox departments/outpatient clinics/offices) and persons with individual risk behaviour (persons with frequently changing sexual contacts), the City of Vienna said.

The health authorities in Vienna also have a specific information sheet in English with more information on the disease.

Monkeypox is a notifiable disease caused by a virus closely related to the smallpox virus and which can cause a condition similar to smallpox but rarely deadly. People with immunodeficiencies, pregnant women and children are at risk of more severe symptoms.

The virus spreads from person to person through contact with infectious skin lesions, via air droplets through speaking, coughing, sneezing, or other body fluids, and when having prolonged and close physical contact, e.g. through sexual intercourse.

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Usually, the first symptoms show up 5 to 14 days (at the latest, 21 days) after exposure. These include fever, general exhaustion, headaches, muscle and body aches, gastrointestinal problems and frequently painfully swollen lymph nodes.

“If you have symptoms and have had contact with someone with monkeypox, you must self-isolate at once and call 1450. If you have a confirmed monkeypox infection, you need to stay in self-isolation until the last crust has fallen off”, the Austrian authorities added.