Mass testing: Austria’s Health Minister Anschober concretizes procedure

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On Saturday, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) specified the procedure for CoV mass tests. For example, there is to be a kind of testing weekend for the population. However, in the mass tests planned from December 5, Anschober sees the uncertainty of antigen tests as “one of the central problems”, as he said in an interview with the daily newspaper “Die Presse” (Saturday edition).

“Therefore, we will retest if the results are positive”, said the Minister on the question of more meaningful PCR or LAMP tests and a certain percentage of false positive antigen tests. As with the tests of up to 200,000 teachers on December 5/6, the entire population should be able to be tested in one weekend.

“We are taking a close look at the organizational model of mass testing in South Tyrol this weekend. It seems to me to be the best one so far, so: blocked on a weekend with many testing possibilities and a strong digitalization in the implementation to avoid waiting times”, said Anschober. He emphasized three basic principles of mass testing: “Voluntariness, repetition and good communication that does not create false assurances”.

Teachers and kindergarten staff first
On December 5 and 6 – and thus shortly before the end of the current lockdown – the entire teaching and kindergarten staff will start their work. Antigen testing will be offered at around 100 test stations in all district capitals for the approximately 200,000 local teachers. One week later, they are to be tested again for a second time.

In between, according to the plans of the federal government, all of the approximately 40,000 policemen and policewomen will take their turn. They are to be tested on December 7 and 8 at the same stations as the teachers. And likewise already in the first week of December, testing will be carried out on a large scale in “communities with high incidence rates”, i.e. strong growth rates. Next week, the government wants to determine exactly which places will be tested in “close cooperation with the federal states and local authorities”. This is what it says in the media information from the Federal Chancellery, with which the government informed about the plans on Friday.
Still no date for the general population
However, the pilot runs are only the run-up to a much larger project: the testing of the general population, which was announced by Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) last weekend. “Building on the experiences of the first series of tests at the beginning of December, an Austria-wide mass test will take place in all municipalities in the week before Christmas. In addition, a second mass test is to be carried out throughout the country at the beginning of the new year.” Because – as Health Minister Anschober is quoted – “for tests to be epidemiologically meaningful, they must be repeated several times”.


The question of who will actually take the samples is answered only very briefly by the government in the media information: “Samples will be taken exclusively by trained health personnel,” it says; and that “the health authorities, together with the army and rescue organizations, will provide appropriate personnel and train additional personnel. When asked by ORF.at in the Ministry of Health, the only answer was: “Trained health personnel are, for example, paramedics.

  • hp, Souce: orf.at. picture: orf/APA
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