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Coronavirus in Austria: Vienna to start mass testing on Wednesday

Vienna will start its coronavirus mass testing program on Wednesday, December 2nd - several weeks earlier than the dates laid out by the federal government.

Coronavirus in Austria: Vienna to start mass testing on Wednesday
Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

Health Councilor Peter Hacker (SPÖ) told APA late on Thursday that the capital will begin its mass tests earlier than the federal guidelines. 

The federal government announced that the plan would begin testing teachers on December 4th – but that the general public would not be tested until the weekend of the 19th and 20th of December. 

As it stands, each Austrian federal state has adopted a different set of dates when the testing regime will start. 

READ: When will mass coronavirus tests take place in my part of Austria? 

Vienna hopes to test 1.2 million people as part of the program. 

Where?

The testing will take place in three locations in the capital. 

The test centres will be set up at the Vienna Stadthalle (City Hall), Marxhalle in Landstrasse and at the exhibition hall near Prater. 

The tests will be conducted on a ‘walk in’ basis. 

In total, 300 ‘test lines’ will be set up – which means capacity will be 50 times larger than the current testing scheme, Hacker said. 

Each line can test up to 500 people per day – meaning 150,000 people can be tested per day at each site. 

‘Very ambitious’ 

Vienna had been critical of the federal government’s mass testing regime, arguing that targeted testing was more effective than blanket testing. 

Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner (ÖVP) said she was surprised that Vienna had changed course, saying that starting on December 2nd was a “very ambitious” goal for the city. 

“We welcome the will of Vienna, but we do not yet know any details about the plans, only the key data spread in the media,” Tanner said

Tanner said she would have advised on a different path, but indicated her support for the capital as it began its testing regime. 

 

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HEALTH

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.

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