Burgenland on Friday became the latest Austrian state to announce that it will keep coronavirus testing free up until Christmas in a bid to make festive gatherings safer.
Testing will be free in Burgenland, Austria's least populous state, from December 21st to 23rd, Kurier reports. People will need to register beforehand, Governor Hans Peter Doskozil (SPÖ) said on Friday.
On Thursday, Salzburg and Styria also announced testing will be free until Christmas at several locations in each state, with pre-registration necessary. Vienna, Carinthia and Upper Austria have also made a similar announcement.
Official information about testing – including where tests can be carried out and how to register – is available at the following link.
Vienna and Upper Austria will also continue to offer free tests until Christmas
Coronavirus testing will remain free in the Austrian capital until Christmas Eve, Kronen Zeitung reports.
It will be the second state to continue free testing in the lead up to Christmas, with Upper Austria already confirming that testing will be extended.
“We want to make Christmas as safe and familiar as possible,” emphasised Thomas Stelzer, the governor of Upper Austria.
The testing centres in Vienna, which were set up in Autumn and extended during the nationwide mass-testing phase, have been kept open to allow people to get tested before meeting up with their families over the Christmas period.
Viennese can have up to one test per person per day.
The testing will take place with Antigen tests – with PCR tests available for those who test positive.
Registration for the tests can take place at the following link.
The testing will take part at three locations: the Austria Centre, the Ernst Happel Stadium and on Danube Island.
Each testing site will have a different focus.
Anyone can get tested at the Austria Centre, including families.
Those with symptoms can be tested on Danube Island.
At the Stadium, the focus is on people who have had contact with someone who has tested positive to the virus, along with travellers from abroad or other federal states and people from the health sector.
More information about the testing scheme, when it is open and how to get tested is available here.
Criticism after low take-up rate
Austria on Monday defended its mass coronavirus testing programme despite opposition complaints that less than half the targeted number had been tested so far.
Experts and opposition parties have pointed out that only 22 percent of the population have taken part — far short of the 60 percent the government initially said it was aiming for.
In Vienna, just 13.5 percent of residents got tested.