The obligation to test should be implemented for all travelers returning

Anyone traveling back to Germany from a risk area or by plane must show a corona test. This test requirement will now be tightened significantly from August 1st.

From August 1st, all travelers returning to Germany must submit a corona test, regardless of whether they cross the border by land, sea or by plane. In the future, the travel destination will no longer play a role either. The most important questions and answers at a glance:

What has so far been the case for travelers returning?

So far it regulates Coronavirus– Entry Ordinance of May 12, the registration, quarantine– and the obligation to provide evidence for those returning to travel. For example, there is a general obligation to provide proof of entry by air: Anyone traveling to Germany by plane must show a negative corona test, vaccination or health certificate before departure, regardless of where they come from.

Anyone who has been on vacation in a high-incidence or virus variant area must also generally have a negative corona test. In areas of high incidence, proof of vaccination or convalescence also applies. Carriage without this proof is excluded. In the case of simple risk areas, it is sufficient if proof is provided no later than 48 hours after entry.

So far, however, an obligation to provide evidence only applies in these cases. Anyone who travels back to Germany from a non-risk area by land or sea, for example with their own car, does not need to submit a test or any other proof.

What is planned now?

A general compulsory test when entering Germany will be introduced from August 1st. Accordingly, everyone who returns to Germany after their vacation abroad must show either a negative corona test or proof of vaccination or recovery when entering the country. This applies to everyone from the age of twelve, regardless of the travel destination and the type of travel.

In addition, the classification in risk areas, High incidence areas and virus variant areas are simplified. In the future, there should then only be high-risk and virus variant areas. This would shorten the list by many countries.

What applies to those who have been vaccinated and who have recovered?

Fully vaccinated and convalescent people are exempt from the obligation to test. According to a report in the “Bild” newspaper, exceptions apply if you have been on vacation in a virus variant area. Then vaccinated and convalescent people are also required to have a corona test. According to “Bild”, this does not apply to cross-border commuters and people who have only traveled through high-risk or virus variant areas and did not stay there.

Where do you need to be tested?

As was previously the case for air travelers and returnees from risk areas, the test must be carried out at an approved test center abroad. These include, for example, pharmacies, aid organizations or medical laboratories, test centers and medical practices.

If it is not possible to carry out the test, the carrier, for example the airline, can have a test carried out.

What do the tests cost and who has to pay for them?

Basically, the costs for the tests have to be borne by yourself, as before, for those returning to travel. The costs vary widely. “Reisereporter” reports prices like 55 euros in test centers in Belgium, 40 euros for a rapid antigen test in Bulgaria, 29 euros in France, 20 euros in Greece, Croatia, Spain or Italy. PCR tests, on the other hand, are often significantly more expensive and can cost up to 350 euros in the Czech Republic, for example.

What if someone tests positive?

Anyone who tested positive may not be promoted. A flight or train journey is then not possible. Corona positives must contact the health department immediately and go into quarantine.

How are the new regulations to be monitored?

According to “Bild”, there should be no fixed border controls, but random samples at and behind the borders as well as in the hometown. “Every person entering the country must, on request, present appropriate evidence to the competent authority or the federal police,” says the cabinet submission.

In addition, the evidence should be checked by the “air transporters”, for example when checking in at the airport.

However, the Railway and Transport Union (EVG) has already warned against using the train staff for possible test controls on the railway. “Train attendants are neither mask police nor corona test inspectors,” said EVG boss Klaus-Dieter Hommel on Friday. The enforcement of laws is the task of the state and “border controls of travelers for proof of vaccination, recovery or negative test” are therefore the task of the federal police.

Why are the rules tightened?

In the cabinet draft published by “Bild” it says: “The incidence in Germany is currently comparatively low compared to other countries. Increased travel activity threatens to reverse this trend.” It should be noted that “almost all countries in the world” are still affected by the pandemic. In addition, there is the spread of the delta variant, which could lead to a sharp increase in the number of infections in Europe. “Travel movements and border traffic can introduce infections and create new sources of infection,” according to the draft.

As a current report from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) shows, more and more people are infected with the coronavirus on vacation abroad. According to the RKI, there have been a total of 31,359 corona cases in Germany in the past four weeks, with 42 percent of those infected it could not be said where the infection probably took place.

At least twelve percent of those infected are very likely to be infected abroad. Last week, this value was still ten percent. “This shows an increasing role of travel-related cases in the current infection rate,” emphasizes the RKI. Nevertheless, Germany remains the most likely place of infection in around 50 percent of cases.

How was the procedure last Corona summer?

From August 8, 2020, travelers returning from risk areas were obliged to show a negative corona test when entering Germany. At that time, however, there were not so many options for corona testing, most of the tests took place directly at the airports. Until September 15, the corona tests were free and voluntary for travelers from non-risk areas.

In addition, travelers returning from risk areas were obliged to quarantine for 14 days immediately after entering the country. The quarantine was initially shortened through a test, but this option was canceled from October 1st.

How useful is the new regulation?

The Frankfurt virologist Martin Stürmer welcomes the idea of ​​expanding the compulsory corona test for returning vacationers. “We are actually already seeing that people returning from travel contribute to bringing infections to Germany,” he said on Tuesday in the ZDF “Morgenmagazin”.

This is certainly also due to the fact that vaccinated and convalescent people do not take the tests, even if they come from high-risk areas. He called such a procedure “negligent”, because it was already known that vaccinated people also deal with the Delta-Variant could infect.

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