EXPLAINED: How Austria’s mass-testing plan will work

EXPLAINED: How Austria's mass-testing plan will work
Photo: Ina FASSBENDER / AFP
An estimated 200,000 people will be tested across the country in the first week of December as Austria rolls out its mass testing scheme.

Austria’s mass testing scheme will kick off in the first week of December, with all teachers in schools and kindergartens along with police officers to be tested. 

The scheme kicks off in two phases. 

Saturday, December 5th and Sunday, December 6th, all state and federal teachers and kindergarten supervisors will be tested. 

On December 7th and 8th, 40,000 police officers will be tested across the country. 

Coronavirus in Austria: These pharmacies offer rapid antigen tests 

According to Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung, “a broad series of tests is planned for the entire population before Christmas”. 

Participation in the scheme is voluntary. 

The testing will take place at around 100 testing stations which will be set up across the country. 

The tests for teachers will be carried out by the Austrian Education Ministry through each state department, while the police testing will be conducted by each state’s police department. 

Medical staff will be trained by Austrian health authorities and the Austrian military. 

Seven million tests have been ordered – with more to come

Seven million tests have already been ordered by the government for the scheme, with four million provided from Roche and three million provided from Siemens. 

The cost of the tests is 50 million euros, reports Kronen Zeitung. 

The scheme will use antigen testing.

Unlike PCR tests, antigen tests can provide a result in less than half an hour. However, they are less accurate as they measure surface proteins of Covid-19 particles. 

This means that they are most effective for people who are highly infectious – i.e. with a high viral load. This means that unlike PCR tests there is the possibility that positive people may falsely receive a negative test result. 


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