Austria conducts over 200 million COVID-19 tests costing 4.8 billion euros, more than 200 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Austria over the past three years, equivalent to an average of 23 tests per person. The cost of these tests has been reported to be a staggering 4.8 billion euros, with the majority of the funds, around 4.3 billion euros, being allocated to the Ministry of Health for mandatory testing of contact persons and screenings. The remaining funds were used to cover the costs of testing in schools and gastronomy, which totaled 411 million euros and 171 million euros, respectively. All of the money for the tests came from the national budget.
Austria was declared the “world champion of testing” in 2021 by its government due to its high testing rate, but it remains unclear whether this extensive testing has had any significant impact on the country’s COVID-19 mortality rate, which has been relatively high compared to other countries in the region, such as Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland.
In response to the pandemic’s impact, the Austrian government has announced plans to launch a “dialogue process” to address the trauma caused by the pandemic. Chancellor Karl Nehammer of the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and Health Minister Johannes Rauch of the Green Party have said that they plan to work with experts to analyze the country’s response to the pandemic and to acknowledge any mistakes made along the way. The specific details of the dialogue process have not been disclosed.
COVID-19 Testing in Austria
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world have raced to ramp up their testing capabilities, with Austria emerging as a leader in this regard. To date, more than 200 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Austria, which translates to an average of 23 tests per person. This is a staggering figure, considering that the country’s population stands at just under nine million people.
The vast majority of these tests, around 4.3 billion euros worth, were allocated to the Ministry of Health for mandatory testing of contact persons and screenings. The remaining funds were used to cover the costs of testing in schools and gastronomy, which totaled 411 million euros and 171 million euros, respectively.
In addition to the high testing rate, the Austrian government has been proactive in introducing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. These include mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing guidelines, and the implementation of a “lockdown” in November 2020, which saw schools, non-essential shops, and restaurants shut down for several weeks.
However, despite these efforts, the country’s COVID-19 mortality rate has remained relatively high, with more deaths per capita than other countries in the region, such as Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland. It is unclear whether the high testing rate has had any significant impact on this metric.