What’s next for free corona tests?

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Time is running out to decide on the future Corona Test strategy in Austria. If there is no agreement by 31 March 2022, there will be no more free screening programs.

Change in testing strategy possible by decree
This raises questions as to whether nursing homes can then be visited without a Corona test, for example, or whether the current Corona quarantine rules could be maintained at all. The government is hoping for a solution in the coming days.

Only 2.5 weeks are left until the end of the month. This does not make it easy for the countries organizing the tests to push ahead with their plans. Especially Vienna, which has set up a showcase test system, is also publicly annoyed that they still do not know how to proceed.

Signals from the government at the weekend were completely different
The signals from the government over the weekend were also completely different. While the Minister of Health spoke out against sectoral solutions and only advocated a reduction of free tests, the Minister of Finance more or less said the opposite. Minister Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) wants free tests for vulnerable groups and the care sector.

Nevertheless, as several people close to the government confirmed, it is hoped that a solution will be reached in the coming days. The extent to which substantive talks with the countries are underway varied. The answers of those involved range from “not at all” to “constant exchange.”

Which Coronatests will remain accessible in Austria after 31 March?
In any case, there are enough questions, such as whether screening in schools will continue. This involves a volume of more than one million tests. Furthermore, it is unclear how to organize visits to nursing homes and hospitals, for which tests for visitors are mandatory according to the current Basic Measures Ordinance.

If the testing strategy is changed, quarantine regulations must also be adapted
In addition, it is unclear how the quarantine will continue. So far, the quarantine lasts ten days, and after five days, you can be cleared if the CT value is above 30 and you are therefore no longer considered infectious. However, if no more tests are carried out, far fewer people will know that they have Corona at all, which will likely lead to a further acceleration of the infection. After all, around two-thirds of positive cases in Vienna were asymptomatic at the time of testing. The government has repeatedly discussed adapting the quarantine rules by changing the testing strategy. However, no concrete solution has been offered so far.

  • source: APA/picture: pixabay.com
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