Can I still use my saved Covid tests in Austria from April?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected] • 31 Mar, 2022 Updated Thu 31 Mar 2022 12:09 CEST
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Corona tests in Austria will be limited as of April 1st, but residents can still use some of their 'old' tests (Photo: Amanda Previdelli / The Local)

Austria is limiting the number of free tests to five PCR and five antigen per month. However, many people still have unused 'Alles gurgelt' boxes at home. Can they be used?

From April 1st, residents in Austria will be entitled to five PCR and five antigen tests per month - a change from the unlimited free tests that have been currently available to the population.

The policy change had been hinted at for a few weeks before it was finally announced on March 15th, giving people plenty of time to "stash" some PCR boxes at home. But can they still be used?

This Thursday, a day before the new rules start, the federal government has published the ordinance regulating the new test strategy and clarifying that people with "saved up" tests at home can still use them - but with limitations.

Stashed tests

If you have already stored tests, you can still use them at least until the end of April. However, there are some restrictions.

In addition to the five free PCR tests every resident will be entitled to monthly, five other tests obtained previously can be evaluated free of charge. This comes to a total of ten free PCR tests in April.

The stored tests can also be used after that following the five a month limit, saving trips to pick-up stations.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: What to do if you test positive in Austria

This is especially relevant for the many residents who have boxes - sometimes dozens - of Alles gurgelt PCR tests at home.

The tests, which were first offered in Vienna and expanded to other states, can be carried out at home. The boxes are then dropped off in one of the hundreds of drug stores and supermarkets functioning as collection points.

These free and easy PCR tests were a staple of the capital's extensive testing policy. Vienna mayor Michael Ludwig on several occasions defended the need for tests and recently confirmed that the city would continue with the Alles gurgelt offers, though limited as funding comes from the federal government.

Exceptions to the limitations

There are several exceptions to the five PCR and five antigen tests a month limitations.

In hospitals, nursing homes and kindergartens, unlimited free testing can continue. Free testing will also remain for residents, staff and visitors at care facilities and health resorts.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: What are Austria's current Covid rules?

People who are 24-hour carers or assistants to disabled people are also exempt from the restriction, as are employees of rescue services.

Additionally, people with symptoms of Covid can still get tested for free without it counting to their five-limit cap. Each state will regulate where and how testing will take place, with possibilities including home PCR tests, calling the 1450 health line, or going to an official testing facility.

Useful vocabulary

Test-Angebot - testing offer
Ausnahmen - exceptions
Verordnung - decree
Einschränkungen - limitations
Pflegeeinrichtungen - nursing homes

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Amanda Previdelli 2022/03/31 12:09

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