Austrians rush free coronavirus tests in lead up to Christmas

Austrians rush free coronavirus tests in lead up to Christmas
A testing centre in Vienna. Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP
New testing centres are being established across the country as Austrians rush to get tested in the final days before Christmas.

Testing rates have skyrocketed across Austria, with more people wanting to get tested before the Christmas period. 

Authorities in Vienna are investigating how to set up additional testing sites to cater to the increasing demand, while Lower Austria has already started expanding its testing centres from ten to 21. 

In Vienna, drive-in testing sites are almost fully booked on the 23rd and 24th of December, with only a few appointments available late on Christmas Eve. 

So far, 35,369 people have registered at drive in testing sites in Vienna on the two days before Christmas. 

Mass coronavirus testing in Austria: Here's how you can register

At the testing facility at the Austria Centre in the 22nd district, a total of 50,783 people have registered for the walk-in tests, and a further 32,766 for the drive-ins, Kurier reports

City Councillor for Health Peter Hacker (SPÖ) said Vienna authorities are now investigating where they can set up additional testing capacity in the coming days. 

Since being announced in November, Austria’s free mass testing scheme has had a disappointing take-up rate from the general public. 

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.

Austria will enter a strict lockdown from December 26th, with people requiring a negative test in order to leave lockdown early from mid-January. 

READ MORE: Austria to re-enter lockdown on December 26th

 


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