Austria’s lockdown reopening – which took place on May 19th – has been accompanied by the so-called ‘3G Rule’.
The 3G Rule refers to ‘Getestet, Geimpft, Genesen’ (Tested, Vaccinated, Recovered) and describes the three ways someone can provide evidence they are immune to the virus.
This means they will need to show evidence of vaccination, a negative test or having recently recovered from the virus in order to take part in most of the newly unlocked activities.
While proving this status will become easier when Austria’s green pass comes into effect – most likely from mid-June – until then you will need to show paper evidence.
While you will get paper evidence when you are vaccinated or test negative, proving that you have had the virus and recovered can get a little more difficult.
This is the case particularly if you have not visited the doctor when you caught (or believe you caught) covid.
For people who have a medical certificate saying they were infected, this is relatively simple.
You can show this for six months after your infection.
If you do not have a medical certificate proving you were infected, you can take an antibody test.
Generally speaking, this will need to be taken at a private lab, as the government has not set up any form of widespread antibody testing.
Austria’s Kurier newspaper reports that antibody tests cost roughly between 25 and 40 euros in private labs.
Companies that carry out antibody tests have been encouraged by the government to produce results which are easy to read, i.e. that simply say “positive” or “antibodies found”.
This is because it is difficult to show via antibodies how well someone is protected.
The results of these tests are valid for three months, provided of course that the results show you have had the virus.
According to the Austrian government, you are then allowed to carry out a test again after the three month period has expired.
If the test shows you still have antibodies, then it will be valid for a further three months.
You will need to carry out the tests at your own expense.
More information on the test specifics can be found at the following link (in German).
In Austria a paper “separation notice” (Absonderungsbescheid) can currently be used to prove that you have recovered from Covid-19 and avoid the testing or vaccination requirement to enter venues and events.
The notice is issued by medical officers in Austria, and allows employees has to stay at home in quarantine for 10 days on full pay in the event of a Covid-19 infection.
Digital recovery certificate
If you have taken a PCR test which showed you tested positive for coronavirus, data from the laboratory which carried out the test should now be automatically sent to the epidemiological reporting system (EMS).
Recovery certificates to be created
From 31st May, Austria started to create recovery certificates, complete with a QR code, that will comply with the EU travel scheme and can be obtained by anyone who has had a positive Covid test. These should be issued after Austria’s digital Green Pass starts in June.
I have been diagnosed as Covid-19 positive. When do I get my certificate? And how long will it last for?
The certificates can only be issued eleven days after an infection diagnosed by a PCR test and should be valid for six months. It will contain data such as name, date of birth, date and place of the first positive test result, start and end of validity as well as information about the issuer.
How do I get a digital certificate?
For people who have been infected with Covid-19 and have been recorded in the EMS in Austria, a recovery certificate is automatically created and made available to the recovered person via the Gesundheit.gv.at platform.
A mobile phone signature or citizen card is required to log in to the electronic health record (ELGA) and thus to retrieve the certificate.
You can find out how to get a mobile phone signature here.
How do I get a paper certificate?
You can have your digital recovery certificate printed out free of charge via the municipalities or district administrative authorities or the ELGA ombudsman. It is still under discussion over whether it might also be possible in the future to get a free printout of test and vaccination certificates directly at the test and vaccination centres.
Will these new digital certificates be mandatory in Austria?
If you are in Austria, you can still show either a separation notice, a doctor’s confirmation of an infection with Covid-19 or evidence that you have tested positive for antibodies. The new certificates will not be mandatory.
What happens if my digital certificate is not generated in the EMS system?
For the time being, it is unclear how to proceed if there is an error and despite a positive Covid-19 test, the entry in EMS is not made or is delayed. Details will follow. However, according to the Epidemic Act, incorrect certificates must be corrected and reissued within five days. A support point will be set up.
Inquiries about Austria’s “Green Pass” can already be made via the AGES telephone hotline (0800 555 621).
What are the penalties for showing fake documents?
Showing false evidence that you have recovered, tested negative for or been vaccinated against Covid-19 is punishable by an administrative fine of up to €500 and could result in criminal charges in Austria.
Green pass: Grüner Pass
Recovery certificate: Genesungszertifikate
Epidemiological reporting system (EMS) – Epidemiologische Meldesystem
Separation notice – Absonderungsbescheid
Antibodies – Antikörper