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10 Apr, 2020 10:12

‘Less than 1%’ of Austria’s population infected with coronavirus, study says

‘Less than 1%’ of Austria’s population infected with coronavirus, study says

Less than one percent of Austria’s population is infected with the coronavirus, a study published on Friday found. The first such study in continental Europe, led by pollster SORA, was based on testing a representative sample of more than 1,500 people.

The country’s current policy is to test people with symptoms, especially if they have been to a known hotspot or in close contact with an infected person. That means many cases, such as people with no symptoms and those with no known contact with an at-risk area, go undetected, Reuters said.

“Based on this study, we believe that 0.33 percent of the population in Austria was acutely infected in early April,” SORA co-founder Christoph Hofinger said. Given the margin of error, the figure was 95 percent likely to be between 0.12 percent and 0.76 percent.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose government commissioned the study and saw initial findings a few days ago, said on Monday that the rate of infection was around one percent. He said that disproved the idea of herd immunity – which requires widespread infection – as a viable policy option. Austria has reported 13,337 confirmed cases, roughly 7,000 of which are still active. The country starts to reopen shops on Tuesday next week.