On Monday school starts again in Lower Austria, Burgenland and also in the capital Vienna. Everyone is curious how the Corona traffic light will affect the school everyday life to the start. Today, Friday, Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer and the spokeswoman of the Corona Commission, Daniela Schmid, will present the start of the Corona traffic light.
Clusters as indicators
On Thursday the Corona Commission met for the first time in full operation. Five representatives of the federal government, five virus experts and nine representatives of the state governments discuss the situation in all districts on Thursday. The commission then makes recommendations to Health Minister Rudi Anschober. The minister, in consultation with the nine state governors, then determines which traffic light color will be used in which district. Depending on the color of the traffic lights – green, yellow, orange and red – measures are derived which are then implemented by the local authorities. The commission does not make decisions solely on the basis of the infection figures in one of the 79 political districts (and the 15 cities) in Austria.
The experts will also analyze the clusters (i.e. where the infections come from), whether sufficient capacity is available in the hospitals, and whether enough corona tests can be performed by the laboratories as relevant indicators of which traffic light color needs to be switched.
This “Corona Commission” will only complete its work when the pandemic is over – and either a large part of the population has received an effective vaccine or the disease can be treated with new drugs – or the virus simply no longer spreads.
What do the colors mean?
Green will appear in a district if the experts identify only a “low risk”, i.e. there are only individual cases of infection and the transmission (cluster) has been clarified.
Yellow are districts where there is a moderate number of cases, but the clusters are also under control.
Orange will light up if there is an accumulation of infections and the clusters can no longer be clearly assigned.
Red means that in a district the new infections are uncontrolled and there is a widespread infections. Then it is possible that the authorities will impose a lockdown and thus curfews over all or parts of the district will be implemented.
Vienna with its 23 districts is considered one district. As the city’s medical crisis team argues, there is no point in looking at the individual districts. Because of the dynamics of movement in the city and the numerous district crossings, a single district is not meaningful.
The Ministry of Education has developed its own Corona traffic light for the schools, where it is possible to see which measures come into effect at each level.
In order to give the corona virus as little chance as possible, 15,000 pupils and 1,200 teachers are to take part in the gargle water corona test every three to four weeks. With this regular monitoring, the Ministry of Education wants to gain an overview of the infection situation.
The results of the monitoring should show whether the current safety and hygiene measures are sufficient or whether they need to be tightened up. “I can only do this if I know the infection figures,” emphasized molecular biologist Michael Wagner from the University of Vienna, who was in charge of the study, when presenting the screening program in mid-August.
According to the Department of Education, students and teachers at 250 elementary, middle and high schools in all provinces will be tested. Participation in the representative study is voluntary, the parents of the students must give their consent. Each participant is expected to gargle about ten times; the planned start is at the end of September.
— Hector Pascua, with reports from the Austrian Press Agency, sozialiministerium.at. Pictures: stockilyapp.com
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