Coronavirus: City of Vienna Sets Up Mobile 24/7 First Aid

More+More+ ♦ Published: February 28, 2020; 10:45 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Vienna authorities have presented an emergency plan for Vienna in dealing with the corona virus. From now on, the medical radio service (Ärztefunkdienst) will be on duty 24 hours a day. The doctors will take over the initial diagnosis and initial care at home.

The medical radio service (Ärztefunkdienst 141) is now ready for coronavirus deployment in Vienna. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / User:Pflatsch / CC BY-SA (

The Vienna Medical Association's Ärztefunkdienst 141 will intensify its activities with immediate effect due to the corona crisis.

As of today, the Mobile Home Sampling Team of Ärztefunkdienst 141 will take over the initial diagnosis and initial care as well as all other necessary home visits of suspected cases of corona in Vienna - 24 hours a day, seven days a week", the Medical Association for Vienna announced.

A total of 200 physicians have already registered, who are willing to provide services within the scope of this campaign.

On duty around the clock

The primary goal is to avoid infections in Vienna as a matter of principle and to keep people suspected of being infected away from practices and outpatient departments in order to prevent infections from further patients, doctors and other practice and hospital staff as far as possible.

To this end, the Medical Association is in contact with all the competent authorities almost around the clock. For example, two days ago, a poster coordinated with the KAV and the Health Service of the City of Vienna was sent electronically to all registered doctors in several languages. This poster explains to patients how to behave in case of suspected corona even before they enter the practice," explained the Medical Association.

In addition to the home visits, doctors are now also available 24 hours a day in the Ärztefunkdiens telephone exchange for telephone advice and an initial corona check by telephone.

In case of suspected corona, patients should dial the emergency number 1450. There they will be connected to the doctors on duty at the 141 physicians' radio service and the emergency plan will start.

The current emergency plan

  • The doctors then carry out a medical-scientific "query tree" by telephone as an initial check: Which symptoms do the patients describe?
  • Were they in a region severely affected by Corona (Mainland China, Iran, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and the Italian provinces of Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna)? Have they been in contact with people who are actually suffering from the corona virus? It will be clarified by telephone whether the callers may or may not actually have been affected by the corona virus.
  • If there is no risk, patients should consult their family doctor as usual, as with other illnesses - such as colds, flu, etc.
  • If, on the basis of the telephone clarification, the suspicion of an infection is determined, the "Mobile Home Sampling Team" of the medical radio service 141 is activated.
  • In the first step, a home visit with protective equipment provided by the KAV is carried out by the Ärztefunkdienst 141. A smear is taken, the samples are collected and taken over by the MA 15 three times a day. The sample evaluation is also carried out three times a day at the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES).
  • The AGES - Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety transmits the findings to the Health Service of the City of Vienna (MA 15) as well as the medical radio service. In case of a negative result, the medical radio service informs the patients, in case of a positive result, the MA 15 takes care of this task.
  • The follow-up treatment of patients who test positive and who, due to their state of health, can stay at home and do not need to be hospitalised, is carried out by the Ärztefunkdienst 141.
  • Six- and twelve-hour shifts are planned for the doctors of the 141 service, with two doctors on duty during the day, plus a laboratory car to take the swabs to the laboratory. During the night, a radio service car and the laboratory car are on the road. However, the Medical Association has taken precautions to use additional cars and doctors if necessary.
  • It takes about 30 minutes to test/swab a patient. This means that at least 50 such tests/smears can be performed per day by one shift.
  • If necessary, both sick notes and prescriptions can be issued by the doctors.