What will Austria get from mass testing?
Once Austria's rigorous lockdown ends on December 6, the government plans to introduce mass coronavirus testing according to the Slovakian model. Teachers and police officers are to be tested first with rapid antigen tests, followed by the rest of the population. Austrian media highlight opportunities and pitfalls of various test strategies.
Effectiveness even confirmed by Harvard
Der Kurier has high hopes for mass testing:
“Mass tests work, so they're useful. Now even Harvard University has given its seal of approval for that. According to a recently published study, the virus could be brought under control within weeks if just half the population is tested - even with less reliable tests such as the antigen tests that are now to be used in Austria. The frequency of the tests is more important than the accuracy.”
Don't lose sight of the disadvantages
Rapid tests that can be carried out at home also have several shortcomings, Die Presse warns:
“You have an important meeting? Test yourself. You want to visit someone with a chronic illness? Test yourself. To avoid waste, a guide could help identify when a home test makes sense. However, the test-yourself-at-home variant has certain flaws. For example, how will the authorities learn about positive test results? And: even cheap tests are expensive in the long run. Constant testing must not be an option exclusively available to the well-heeled. Consequently, we need a wide range of public testing options. And companies - especially from the low-wage sector - could also be involved.”