The new regulations for protection against the coronavirus have thwarted many a vacationer. For those who live in so-called Corona hotspots, it has now become much more complicated to travel. This affects vacationers from Bremen, Frankfurt am Main, Hamm, Remscheid and Berlin, among others.
Because on Wednesday the federal and state governments agreed on an accommodation ban. This means that vacationers from risk areas are only allowed to stay in a hotel or guesthouse if they can show a negative corona test that is not older than 48 hours. However, there is no uniform regulation for the whole of Germany.
The negative corona test seems to be the only way to save the autumn vacation within Germany. But where do you get it if you have neither symptoms nor contact with an infected person?
Symptom-free people do not belong in Covid-19 practices
Nobody likes to go without their vacation, so the rush for a corona test is correspondingly high. According to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KV) Berlin, more and more people are turning to medical practices and asking about options for a test. They also use the number of the medical on-call service for information – which is actually reserved for medical emergencies. This means that patients can no longer get through to the control center.
The KV also points out that Covid-19 practices are not test centers. They are only available to those who suffer from cold or flu symptoms, do not have a family doctor and urgently need treatment.
If you have no symptoms, you can still get tested – but you have to pay for it
The health insurance company will only take over your test if a health department has ordered it or if you have symptoms. If you do not have any complaints and still want to be tested, you can contact your family doctor. According to the KV, they are not obliged to test you. Primarily patients with symptoms are treated. However, there are other providers for a test, especially in large cities.
In Berlin, for example, you can have Quicktest check you for the corona virus. The method is a PCR test. Cost: just under 160 euros. In a parking lot in front of the fair, medical workers take a throat swab. The sample is sent to a laboratory – and the result should usually be sent by email within 24 hours. The next bookable dates are in ten days.
You can get tested at the Frankfurt, Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports through the Rostock company Centogene. You have to register online on the company’s website and then go to the test center. There is no appointment allocation. The standard variant, where the result is available within twelve to 24 hours according to the provider, costs just under 60 euros. If you want information within six hours, you pay 139 euros.
Are the test capacities sufficient?
According to an evaluation by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), there was still free capacity last week. Out of around 1.5 million possible tests, a total of 1.1 million were carried out in week 40. “There is still room for maneuver,” says Jens Philipp Michalke, managing director of the capital office of the professional association of German laboratory doctors. However, he could only refer to the management report of the Robert Koch Institute – that is, to the data from last week.
The picture is different in Berlin. The Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) reports of long queues in front of the test centers while the laboratories reach their limits. The professional association for “Accredited Laboratories in Medicine” (ALM) warned against overloading the test laboratories in the capital. Last week, the test capacities were already 95 percent full.
“The laboratories are currently working to their limits in order to deliver the results as quickly as possible,” said Cornelia Wanke, managing director of the ALM group, in an interview with rbb. If the number of samples sent in increased further, there could be an initial delay in determining the findings.
What about rapid tests?
Rapid tests could provide a possible relief for laboratories in the future. The advantage of this method is that a result is available in a few minutes. Because there is no need to examine the sample in a laboratory. But this is not yet an option for vacationers. The Federal Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians expects the introduction of antigen tests in the fourth quarter of this year. From mid-October, nursing homes and hospitals will initially use the antigen tests.