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Austria plans to massively expand coronavirus testing in coming days – Kurz

Austria plans to massively expand coronavirus testing in coming days – Kurz

Austria will massively expand coronavirus testing in coming days to locate and isolate infected people and avoid an Italian-like overload of its health system, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has said. The Alpine republic with a population of 8.8 million has tested around 28,400 people so far with nearly 4,900 cases and 28 deaths confirmed, Reuters reported.

It was one of the first European countries to put severe restrictions on movement. In coming weeks, Austria plans to test up to 15,000 people per day, the chancellor said. “We will also launch rapid tests, to test hundreds of thousands of people, as quickly as possible,” Kurz told reporters on Tuesday. He referred to brand new tests that are comparably cheap but take longer than laboratory tests used up until now.

Broad testing is key to getting a clear picture of the real infection rate and an idea of how many people have developed immunity against the virus, the chancellor said.

The strict measures are in place until April 13, and Kurz said there was hope that a gradual withdrawal could start the day after.