Berlin (dpa) – In view of the corona pandemic, flight passengers should generally be tested before leaving for Germany – starting next Sunday at midnight.
The more stringent requirements set by federal and state governments should go into effect this time so travelers and airlines can adapt to them, as the federal health department said Thursday. You may only board the plane with a fresh negative test result. This must also apply regardless of the number of infections in the holiday country.
The new mandatory test should initially apply until May 12. Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) will probably announce the corresponding new accession scheme this Friday. The federal cabinet must reach an agreement in advance.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers of the federal states decided on Monday that a test should be mandatory as an admission requirement for flights to Germany. Because more contagious virus strains and their worldwide spread showed that cross-border travel “should be kept to the bare minimum”.
Recently it became a hot topic that thousands of German holidaymakers flew to the Spanish island of Mallorca, for which the testing requirements were no longer applicable due to the lower number of infections. The new regulation now applies not only to Mallorca, but in general. And only for flights, not for travel with any other means of transport. An overview:
THE TESTS: PCR laboratory tests or rapid tests with certain minimum requirements can be performed. Air travelers have to pay for the test out of their own pocket.
THE NEW TEST OBLIGATION: The new test obligation must start on the night from Saturday to Sunday. All passengers planning to travel by plane to Germany from midnight must be tested before departure. Crews are excluded. You can have tests done at recognized institutions abroad, as it was called in the ministry. The result must be present before departure so that it can be presented to the airline. The cotton swab for the test should not have been taken more than 48 hours before entry. If it is not possible for travelers to obtain a test certificate, airlines should also be able to offer tests.
THE EFFECTS OF THE TEST: You cannot be forced to take a test, as the Ministry further explained. However, in the future, the airline will only allow transportation with a negative test certificate. If the corona test is positive, you must quarantine at your own risk according to local regulations – and usually bear the cost yourself. Infection protection regulations are based on the regulations in the holiday country.
THE TEST CHECKS: The airline must verify that travelers have a negative test certificate. In addition, checks by the federal police upon entry into Germany and also by the health authorities are possible. Airlines cannot be transported to Germany if a passenger has not undergone a test or if the information provided is “clearly incorrect”. Airlines are threatened with fines if these obligations are violated.
EXISTING TESTING REQUIREMENTS: Testing requirements already exist – but when you return from certain countries with a high risk of infection, it will be determined according to an individual classification by the federal government. For example, travelers from “high incidence areas” with a particularly high number of infections and from areas with new virus variants must show a negative test before departure. Then there are also requirements to place yourself in quarantine in Germany.
THE FLUGGESELLSCHAFTEN: The aviation industry still sees unanswered questions about the implementation of the planned general corona test obligation for flights to Germany. Industry circles pointed out the short preparation time and questions about the infrastructure of certain travel destinations. Previously, industry representatives had spoken with Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU).
The ministry said industry representatives had confirmed their willingness to participate in the safe travel measures, the ministry said. Tests are the right way to stop the virus from spreading. Detailed questions about the practical implementation would still be clarified. It’s not all about Mallorca. The federal and state governments had emphasized that they expected tests by crews and passengers of all airlines before the return flight and no further flight extension during the Easter holidays.