Austria is considering mass testing à la Slovakia

It still remains an open topic, though.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian KurzAustrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (Source: AP/SITA)

Austria might hold mass testing based on the Slovak model towards the end of its strict lockdown scheduled for November 17-December 6.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said so during a broadcast of the public-service ORF on November 15. He called the Slovak testing an example of "absolute success".

More details should be revealed during the week, but one of the target groups might be teachers, Kurz said, as reported by the TASR newswire.

Austrian minister surprised, Matovič excited

When asked about the testing, Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said that they are first of all focusing on efficient and effective implementation of the lockdown. He said that his primary goal is to protect and relieve the intensive care units.

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The question of testing is still open, and they will discuss it with scientists in the coming days, the Austrian daily Der Standard reported.

Anschober stressed that the mass testing will be voluntary and that there should be more stages, as one-stage testing would be of a little use.

Slovak PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) announced the news on his Facebook account, referring to Kurz’s statements.

He also thanked the Austrian medical doctors who came to help with the first round of the nationwide testing in Bratislava and offered reciprocal help to Austria if necessary.

Strict lockdown

Austria announced the closure of all schools and shops except for grocery stores, pharmacies, drug stores and petrol stations from November 17 to December 6. The government will also implement more movement and contact restrictions.

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People will be allowed to leave their homes only to secure their basic needs, the necessary travels to work and visits to their relatives, TASR reported.

The lockdown is necessary given the surge in coronavirus cases, according to Kurz. The number of cases rose by 5,665 from Saturday, November 14 to Sunday, November 15. At the same time, 4,178 people are in hospitals, with 599 in intensive care units.

He also called on people to wear masks.

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