The switch to a new provider of PCR testing program in schools has caused problems after the Christmas holidays. ARGE Molecular Diagnostics, which is responsible for tests in eight federal states (except Vienna) after a new tender, admitted to the APA that it is experiencing technical difficulties in evaluating results (particularly in the task and evaluation in the database). The Ministry of Education is considering legal action.
Franz Oller, Managing Director of the Bidding Group, said in a statement that since yesterday, intensive efforts have been made to resolve the problems, and a solution is expected within the next few days.
Ministry: “Too late, incorrect and incomplete”
The Ministry of Education reacts unusually sharply to technical problems: the performance requirements of the advanced consortium in the first week of school exams were not met, according to a statement. The ministry reported “inexplicably few positive cases” and schools received “extremely late, incorrect and incomplete” data.
Therefore, the department commissioned a quality check by comparative measurements by experts. In addition, legal steps are being examined in coordination with Finanzprokuratur with the support of the Federal Procurement Agency (BBG) against the bidding consortium.
In order to ensure safety in schools, students now perform daily antigen tests. In addition, they continue to wear masks all the time, according to the ministry, which also appeals to students to take a PCR test on the weekends if possible.
Until the Christmas holidays, the Covid Fighters had run school PCR tests in Lower Austria and Upper Austria as well as in primary schools in Vienna, and Lifebrain’s “Alles gurglt” was used for older Viennese schoolchildren. In other federal states, Novogenia was responsible.
Lifebrain twice objected to the award of the contract for school PCR tests. Therefore, the contract was reintroduced by the Federal Procurement Agency, and the Federal Administrative Court also examined the performance of the working group (Procomcure Biotech GmbH & Hygienikum GmbH & Confidence DNA-Analysen GmbH & Tauernkliniken GmbH based in Bergheim/Salzburg) following a request for review.
Meanwhile, the Undergraduate Student Union has spoken out again against students’ obligation to take CoV tests in schools and “mask requirements” in class. Instead, air purifiers will be used across the board in schools, and acrylic glass walls will be created between students, according to education spokesperson Hermann Bruckel at a press conference.
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