Berlin (dpa) – For those returning from summer holidays, a new mandatory test should apply from this Sunday to protect against the spread of corona.
“All unvaccinated people entering Germany should be tested in the future – regardless of whether they come by plane, car or train,” said Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). “In this way we reduce the chance of new infections.” On Friday – shortly before the end of the major holidays in the first federal states – the federal cabinet wants to approve the ordinance, which also regulates a new classification for global risk areas.
The new requirements mean extra work, especially for people who don’t have a full vaccination, which also affects most older children. Because the inspection obligation arises from the fact that a general obligation to provide proof is being introduced: From Sunday, everyone aged 12 and older must be able to demonstrate upon entry into the country that the risk of transmission is smaller: with proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative test result. Such a requirement already existed for all air passengers.
Given the weaker demand for vaccinations in Germany, Spahn once again promoted the practical benefits. Traveling is generally easier with a vaccination. Vaccinated people keep tests and generally don’t need to be quarantined. «The vaccination offer for everyone in the summer is available. We have enough vaccine.”
In the future, however, mandatory testing will be mandatory for everyone who comes from areas with new, worrying virus variants. Then proof of the test is always required. “Evidence of recovery or proof of vaccination are not enough in this case,” says the final version of the regulation, which has been voted on in the government.
In general, you should have the appropriate proof with you upon entry and present it to “random” checks by the authorities. Air travelers must show proof of departure to the airline before departure, in cross-border trains it must also be possible during the journey. Direct border checks of all incoming cars are not planned – but one should at least expect checks. For Bavaria, Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) announced more sampling and checks through veil surveys. The health authorities must also check 20 percent of digital input records, he told “Der Spiegel” magazine.
An overview of other specific access rules:
Testing and Cost
To obtain a test certificate abroad, rapid tests by specialized personnel or PCR laboratory tests are possible – paid out of pocket. That could be double-digit amounts per capita. Rapid tests should not have been more than 48 hours ago on arrival in Germany, more accurate PCR tests should not take more than 72 hours. In areas with virus variants, the deadline for rapid tests is reduced to 24 hours. The proof must be in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish – digitally or on paper. Paper proofs photographed with a mobile phone may not be accepted during checks due to the risk of misuse.
In the future, instead of three, there will only be two categories for higher-risk global regions: high-risk areas and areas with virus variants. Regions with a particularly high number of cases are considered high-risk areas. One indication: a seven-day incidence of “significantly over 100”. However, other factors such as test rates and clinical cases must also be taken into account. The level of the ‘simple’ risk area with more than 50 reported new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days no longer applies. Until now, there was also the middle level of the “high incidence areas” with a seven-day incidence of over 200.
For high-risk areas, those who have not been vaccinated and who have not recovered are intended to be quarantined for ten days after their return, which can be ended with a negative test on the fifth day at the earliest. An initially planned specification for PCR testing was no longer applicable. For children under the age of twelve, the quarantine should generally end after the fifth day after entry. When returning from virus variant areas, a 14-day home quarantine is generally still provided.
The regulation provides for special arrangements for cross-border commuters and short journeys in cross-border traffic with a stay of less than 24 hours. The obligation to prove should only apply to them if they come from risk areas again. For those who have not been vaccinated and those who have not recovered, a test certificate should only be required twice a week, not for every entry. If you travel alone through a risk or virus variant area without a stopover, you do not need to be quarantined upon entering Germany.
Holidaymakers from risk areas still have to register with the official digital access portal. Test, vaccination or recovery data can also be uploaded there once you have it.
The fact that you have to be tested for everything that has to do with travel is not entirely new to many. A negative test is also often required for holiday homes in Germany. Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said in the ARD on Thursday evening that many were already being tested on holiday, for example because it was necessary for certain activities. “We need to prevent situations like last year from happening again in the fall — vaccination helps us here, but so does testing.”
Corona infections, which probably originated during travel, are playing an increasing role in the infection process in Germany, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). In the weeks from June 28 to July 25, Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands were most often cited as likely to be infected countries, followed by Croatia and Greece. The majority of corona broadcasts continue to take place in their own country – we are talking about at least 81 percent.