Austria: What are Vienna’s coronavirus 'gurgle tests'?

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Austria: What are Vienna’s coronavirus 'gurgle tests'?
A coronavirus 'testing street' in the Austrian capital of Vienna. Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP

From invasive nasal swabs to ‘lollipop testing’, there are a wide range of ways to get tested for coronavirus. What are Vienna’s ‘gurgle tests’?


In late March Michael Ludwig, the Mayor of Vienna, has announced all people working or living in Vienna can be regularly tested for the coronavirus free of charge using a PCR "Gurgeltest".

The test project Alles Gurgelt (everyone gurgles) will be extended to allow everyone in Vienna to take four free PCR gargle tests (Gurgeltests) per week.

As of April, a total of 200,000 tests per day have been made available for residents of the city. 

The gurgle tests are also used by mobile teams from the local health authority when there are suspected cases of coronavirus in schools. 

READ MORE: Vienna to roll out free coronavirus ‘gurgle tests’ next week

What do I do with the tests? 

The tests are carried out at home, and involve gargling with a saline solution for 60 seconds before collecting the liquid in a test tube to be returned for testing.

The tests can be collected and returned at participating  BIPA and other REWE stores, which include Billa, Merkur and Penny as well as at the petrol station shops BP-Merkur Inside, Jet-Billa Stop & Shop and Shell-Billa Unterwegs.

If you drop off your sample before 9am, you can get your test result within 24 hours.


Where do I get a test? 

The following map, which looks like Vienna with a bad case of chicken pox, actually shows the location of every location where you can get a gurgle test from in Vienna. 

How long do the results last for? 

The results are valid for 72 hours for things like travel and visiting a hairdresser, although check with the appropriate authorities if the tests will be sufficient (for instance if you are looking to enter another country). 

Do the tests allow me to travel? 

As they are valid for 72 hours, they are probably better for travelling than, say, antigen tests or self tests. 

The results of the gurgle tests are also available in English (as well as other languages) which will help with travelling. 

Do the tests allow me to visit hairdressers or get a tattoo? 

Yes. The tests can also be used to visit a hairdresser or any other businesses with a test requirement, if you video yourself gargling and send the appropriate proof of ID to the online platform. 

EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s test requirement to visit hairdressers?

How accurate are they? 

As these are PCR rather than antigen tests, they are far more accurate. 

According to laboratory partner Life Brains representative Michel Havel, the tests used for Alles Gurgelt are more than 98 percent accurate. 

More information on the free testing scheme is available here. 


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