The government says goodbye to permanent free tests

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The government says goodbye to permanent free tests

The federal government is saying goodbye to the permanent free-of-charge testing at the end of March. Instead, these will be limited to a quota of five free PCR tests and five antigen tests per month, said Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) at a press conference on Tuesday: “Anyone who wants to be tested can continue to do so.” It remained open how it continues with the school tests. Rauch referred here to the responsibility of the Ministry of Education.

With the “good compromise” that has now been reached, there will continue to be sufficient free testing for everyone in Austria, Rauch expressed his conviction. People in nursing homes and old people’s homes, as well as symptomatic people, are to be given the opportunity to be tested more often: “That means, by and large, whoever needs a free test will get it.”

In addition, the quarantine rules are to be relaxed. In the future, contact persons who are not fully protected will no longer have to isolate themselves for ten days. Traffic restrictions are to be imposed on them in the future. These people would still be allowed to work and go shopping, but they would no longer attend events. In addition, the focus on sewage monitoring is to be increased.

About schools, Rauch spoke of a “close exchange” with Education Minister Martin Polaschek (ÖVP). The latter is in the process of working out a plan. The current regulation is valid until the end of the school year. It remains unanswered if the current testing strategy in the education sector will continue to apply after April 1. Currently, pupils have to be tested three times a week for the Coronavirus, twice with the more informative PCR tests.

The pandemic is still not over, said the Minister of Health, which is also shown by the peak in the number of infections. Although he took calls from experts for the reintroduction of mandatory masks or the postponement of measures seriously, the decision had been made to stick to the current course. According to Rauch, this would only become effective once the wave was probably already over, and in addition, an overload of hospital beds was not expected.

  • source: APA/picture: pixabay.com
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