Chancellor Kurz announced details of free testing after lockdown

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz revealed new details on ZIB2 on Wednesday evening: in order to be able to visit cultural events, hotels or guesthouses, one must be able to show a negative test result at the end of the lockdown, which is not more than 48 hours old. The operators of the respective establishments must check these test results themselves, the chancellor explained.

When visiting restaurants, the test must be a maximum of one week old, Kurz said. Here, the health authority will also carry out spot checks in cooperation with the police, Kurz announced.

At the same time, the chancellor stressed that it was a “misconception” that gastronomy could be open around the clock from January 18. “It will also need other security concepts. We will be able to return to normal next year – but some months will remain very demanding.

Asked about constitutional lawyers doubting whether free COVID 19 test is constitutional, Kurz replied, “There’s always a constitutional lawyer who finds a new idea negative.” “Freitesten” is a complex new area, he said. He said the government has been working very hard in recent weeks to come up with a “sophisticated model.”

What the exact vaccination schedule for 2021 will look like depends primarily on when AstraZeneca’s vaccine will be approved, Kurz explained. If approval is granted soon, he said, it is possible that well over 500,000 people in Austria will be vaccinated in the first quarter.

And is the vaccine safe? That is not a question of faith, the chancellor explained. “Rather, I trust the decision of the authorities based on scientific criteria.”

“We call up everything we can get through the European Union in procurement. We cannot call off more because we have agreed in the European Union that we will not negotiate individually with pharmaceutical companies in order not to compete internally,” Kurz said. He did not want to criticize the procurement process by the EU: No one could have known that Pfizer Biontech would be the first vaccine to be approved. It is now necessary to fight to ensure that further vaccine approvals – “if the scientific standards are met” – proceed as “quickly and unbureaucratically” as possible, he stressed.

  • with reports from

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