Corona tests available almost everywhere in Austria

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The expansion of Corona testing facilities announced before Christmas has been implemented almost across the board. As a data analysis by a team from the Vienna University of Technology together with the APA shows, three out of four Austrians can reach the nearest free test in just five minutes driving time. Because pharmacies (and, in Tyrol, family doctors) have also been involved, more than 2,000 testing options are now available. However, there are still gaps in some rural communities.

The offer is particularly dense for Viennese and Tyroleans. Here, for more than 90 percent, a maximum five-minute ride to the free test is enough. Residents of some communities in the Mühlviertel and Waldviertel regions, as well as in Upper Styria and Carinthia, have to travel longer distances. For example, it takes a good 20 minutes from Heiligenblut in Carinthia to the nearest free test in Winklern. And for the region around Wildalpen (district of Liezen), the province of Styria has organized a test bus because the nearest stationary test facilities in Mariazell and Eisenerz are no more than 40 minutes away.

Overall, however, 98 percent of Austrians can now reach the nearest free test in a maximum 15-minute drive. “It is now a very dense network,” says Florian Pühringer from the Institute of Spatial Planning at TU Vienna. Together with his colleague Aggelos Soteropoulos, he has calculated the travel time to test centers in Austria. According to the results, there are only 174 (out of 2,095) municipalities in which more than one-fifth of the population has to drive more than a quarter of an hour to the nearest free test – and that’s both there and back.

Compared with the situation before Christmas, this is a significant improvement. At that time, half of the population in Lower Austria alone would have had to drive more than half an hour to the test. Now, a five-minute drive is enough for almost 70 percent of Lower Austrians. What is noticeable here is not only the significantly expanded range of services offered by the provinces – 572 stations throughout Austria, 311 of which are in Lower Austria alone – but also hundreds of pharmacies offering free tests.

However, there are still regional differences. In addition to Vienna and Tyrol (where free tests for symptom-free patients are also offered by general practitioners), the network is comparatively dense in Vorarlberg. Here, 80 percent can reach the nearest test facility within a five-minute drive. In Carinthia and Upper Austria, on the other hand, only slightly more than half of the inhabitants can reach the test within five minutes by car. In Styria, the figure is 61 percent, and 65 percent in Salzburg and Burgenland. Admittedly, the test offer is still being continuously expanded. At the end of the week, pharmacies were added that are not yet included in the current analysis. In total, there are now 895.

Currently, an average of 74 percent of Austrians can reach the nearest free test within a five-minute drive (the journey time by public transport cannot be calculated outside Vienna). The almost nationwide expansion is also reflected in the test statistics. Since Coronatests have been mandatory as a ticket when visiting the hairdresser, an average of more than 200,000 tests per day are performed in Austria. In terms of population, only Slovakia and Cyprus recently tested more.

  • source: kleinezeitung.at/picture: pixabay.com
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