From March 1, free self-tests available to all in pharmacies
Government expands it’s “self-testing” offer. SPÖ leader Rendi-Wagner calls for self-tests to be considered “entry tests” for visits to hairdressers, for example.
“Test, test, test”
“Test, test, test” is the motto in the fight against the Corona pandemic. Now the government is installing another instrument to cut off the virus as quickly and, above all, as low-threshold as possible from spreading among the population.
Starting March 1, free home self-tests for corona virus will be distributed at pharmacies. “Intensive testing is the key to the best possible control of the incidence of infection,” said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), justifying this testing offensive and also highlighting the national testing strategy.
Austria is among those countries “that test the most in Europe,” he told STANDARD: “And with the school tests, we are the first in Europe. With the free living room tests, it becomes easy to play it safe at home, too.”
Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) also has high hopes for the further condensed testing infrastructure for “regular self-monitoring through self-testing.” For him, testing is “currently our most important breakwater against a massive increase in infections due to the first cautious opening steps.”
Incidentally, the idea of “living room tests” originally came from SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner. The epidemiologist had already called for Austrian households to be equipped with free self-tests last December: “The goal is for at least half the population to test themselves in their living rooms at least twice a week.”
Rendi Wagner said on Monday to the STANDARD newspaper: “This first step is correct and important. Cooperation in the sense of the health of the population pays off. Now the government must take the next step: The living room tests should apply as access tests for visits to hairdressers and other body-related service providers. This is possible if the will is there.”
Government expects 3.5 million tests weekly
With the corona home testing strategy, the government expects up to 3.5 million Corona tests weekly, including 2.2 million in schools. Last week, when “entry testing” started after the lockdown, nearly two million tests were administered at testing stations, pharmacies and schools.
Currently, in Austria, the offer consists of more than 500 testing stations in the provinces and municipalities, as well as more than 800 pharmacies that already offer free antigen tests. In addition, 730 companies with 351,568 employees are participating in the funded testing campaign in companies, which starts today, Monday.
Source: Der standard