Relatively spared by the first wave, Austria is once again confined and plans to carry out large-scale tests.
Two weeks after the implementation of a partial containment which has failed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Austrian government decided earlier this week to close schools and non-essential stores.
Nearly 7,000 new infections have been identified in the past 24 hours. According to figures from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health, more than 4,600 people are currently hospitalized, including nearly 700 in intensive care and the hospital system is reaching saturation point.
“We are trying to find more medical staff, which is very difficult because the trainings take time and contact tracing does not work either. The government is trying to find more staff for the identification of those infected, which is also quite difficult “, explains Christoph Steininger, virologist at the medical university of Vienna, specialist in infectious diseases.
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Under these conditions, Austria wishes to take an example from Slovakia where a nationwide testing campaign was set up at the beginning of November. Scheduled for the end of confinement and carried out using antigenic tests, this strategy is not unanimous.
“These rapid antigenic tests have been approved and developed to test asymptomatic people. This is the reason why they often generate ‘false-negatives’, because the people tested have a low viral load. combination of several methods to fight the virus at different levels “, explains Christoph Steininger.
The confinement put in place by the Austrian government, authorizing outings outside under specific circumstances (food shopping, professional and medical reasons, sport or walks), is scheduled until December 6.