Friday , February 26 2021

That is why Austria is massively testing its population before Christmas



Teachers in Linz, Austria, are preparing for the Covid-19 test in front of a large showroom. Friday is December 4 and teachers have been following the government’s call to take a test, whether they have symptoms or not.

Unfortunately, they are out in very good weather. Due to an error in the booking system, teachers are called for testing one or two days in advance.

“As so often, the government promises a lot, but nothing works,” Thomas Stelzer, who belongs to the PVP party and serves as governor of Upper Austria, told the Die Presse newspaper.

In Vienna, the population can be tested in three different places.  Exhibition halls and arenas are used as test centers throughout the country.

In Vienna, the population can be tested in three different places. Exhibition halls and arenas are used as test centers throughout the country.

Photo: Georg Hohmut / AFP

December 1st Mass testing of the new coronavirus has begun, in which the Austrian government hopes to involve several million people. Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says the tests help break the chains of infection, and calls the strategy a new chapter in the fight against the pandemic.

“In this way, we want to enable people to celebrate Christmas with their immediate family,” the chancellor said in a statement on November 20.

The assumption that the spread of infection is reduced through a broad test is based on people who are asymptomatic but contagious, able to detect that they are carrying an infection. These people should then be quarantined and thus avoid contact with people who might otherwise infect them.

He is in Austria it is voluntary to test, but the whole population is invited to participate. Anyone wishing to take the test must register online through the criticized system, which gave teachers in Linz incorrect time in early December. Criticism also came from people who were not informed that they received a negative test result. In addition, the computer system leaked personal data from 800 of those tested. Technical problems have forced staff at several test stations to switch to using physical forms.

Read more: Austria faces new severe “blockade”

Vienna's Stadtale has become a temporary test center.

Vienna’s Stadtale has become a temporary test center.

Photo: Alex Halada / AFP

Also in Slovakia Mass tests were performed during the fall. In total, two-thirds of the population, 3.6 million people, were tested during the operation, which began in October. Regarding the testing, state epidemiologist Anders Tegnel said the strategy is not currently relevant in Sweden.

– Then we will have to stop testing a lot of people who really need to be tested. It would be strange to give priority again. It’s good to be able to test, but you have to have an idea why you are testing. You must test and detect the infection. After all, it is a picture. “Those who were healthy today can get sick tomorrow,” said Anders Tegnel.

Read more: Maria Gunter from DN: “The situation with the corona tests my patience”

Testing of assembly lines in Vienna.

Testing of assembly lines in Vienna.

Photo: Georg Hohmut / AFP

This spring, the state epidemiologist gave similar answers when the demands for mass tests came from a political point of view.

“It’s not just a laboratory machine, you have to have the whole test chain working properly,” Anders Tegnel said in March.

Similar objections has also been heard in Austria. Epidemiologist Erarald Gartlechner told Die Presse that the tests were not 100 percent safe and that a negative result did not mean that people could meet as usual.

– I doubt that politicians do this just because of that. “They want to show the population that they are doing something for everyone to have a nice Christmas,” he said.


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