Austria on Wednesday passed a resolution in the National Council to offer coronavirus antigen tests free of charge at pharmacies across the country.
The resolution was initiated by Austria’s Social Democratic Party (SPÖ), winning support from all other major parties other than the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ).
The non-binding resolution is expected to become law in the coming days, Austria’s Kurier newspaper reports, after which the “free coronavirus self-tests should be distributed as soon as possible”.
SPÖ boss Pamela Rendi-Wagner said for the country’s battle against the virus to be effective, the tests must come to people’s living rooms.
“Testing is key in fighting pandemics. Away with the bureaucracy, (we need) more personal responsibility. The coronavirus tests have to go to people's living rooms,” she said.
“The tests for self-use are available, now they have to be procured by the government and offered free of charge and as widely as possible through pharmacies.”
The tests will be available to anyone in Austria with an e-card (health care card) and will be available in all pharmacies.
Pursuant to the plan, Austrians can either test themselves immediately or hold onto the tests until they feel sick or have come into contact with someone with the virus.
From there, they will be able to quarantine if a test is positive.