Corona tests to cost the state up to 1.8 billion by the end of the year

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The Department of Health plans to re-evaluate the situation in the fall, but the tests will remain free for non-vaccinated people in any case.

Should Corona tests soon be subject to a fee? At least for non-vaccinated people? These questions are currently occupying Austria’s domestic politics.

Following calls from some ÖVP-led provinces as well as from the Lower Austrian Medical Association, Medical Association President Thomas Szekeres has also called for an end to free tests. Szekeres sees paid tests as a way to boost the declining willingness to vaccinate. But there is another aspect: that of the cost to taxpayers.

Because the tests are costly for the state in the long run. As of Thursday, according to data from the Ministry of Health, 68.2 million tests have been conducted in Austria to date as part of screenings or in test lanes. In addition, there are 11.7 million tests in pharmacies, 5.6 million tests in companies and 35.9 million school tests. By the end of the year, the health department expects costs to range between 1.5 and 1.8 billion euros, excluding school and workplace testing. The cost per test varies, with pharmacies charging 25 euros each.

Medical association head Szekeres also in favor of ending free tests
According to Szekeres, the prerequisite for ending the free test was that everyone had the opportunity to be vaccinated. “I don’t see why the general public has to pay for these tests, which are nevertheless very expensive, if people refuse to take advantage of the free vaccination. The vaccinations have been strictly controlled by the European regulatory authority, are approved in our country, are safe and effective – and I believe everyone should get vaccinated if possible.”

The Ministry of Health wants to re-evaluate the situation in the fall, but the tests will remain free of charge for symptomatic people and non-vaccinated people.

The SPÖ, however, is strictly opposed to paid tests. Party leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner warned on Friday that it was too early for this. In Cyprus, she said, three-quarters fewer tests had been carried out after the introduction of chargeable tests. That would have dangerous consequences.

— source: kurier.at/picture:pixabay.com

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