Quarantine Is Back As Germany Looks To End Airport COVID Testing

Around the world, Germany has been hailed for its robust COVID-19 testing program for arrivals from high-risk countries. However, it seems as though the mandatory testing requirement is being relaxed in favor of bringing quarantine by default back.

Lufthansa, Bailout, Rejection worries
Germany will reportedly roll back its mandatory testing initiative. Photo: Getty Images

In dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, while trying to avoid imported cases spreading the virus around the world, a whole range of different travel restrictions are in place. For example, while passengers from the UK are currently banned from flying to the US, the UK will let anybody from a high-risk country in as long as they quarantine.

What’s currently happening in Germany?

Germany had initially been accepting a negative COVID-19 test as a valid exception to having to quarantine for 14-days on arrival in the country. However, towards the start of August, the state changed its policies.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.

This meant that every passenger arriving from a high-risk country was obligated to take a free COVID-19 test on arrival. As the government paid the cost, there was no financial burden on the traveler. A negative result meant that no quarantine was necessary.

British Airways, COVID-19, Testing
Tests would likely revert to being optional and for a fee. Photo: Centogene

So, what will change?

It has been reported that Angella Merkel, the German Chancellor, will announce that such measures will be rolled back tomorrow, according to FlightGlobal. A spokesperson for the Bundesgesundheitsministerium (German Ministry Of Health) told the publication that as the summer draws to an end, the quarantine will once again become the default option for passengers arriving in the country from high-risk areas.

Simple Flying has contacted the Bundesgesundheitministerium for comment. This article will be updated as appropriate.

The change would likely mean that a COVID-19 test to avoid quarantining for 14-days would once again become optional. As such, the charge for the test would probably return. Centogene in Frankfurt Airport is currently charging a minimum of €59 for those not eligible to take a free test.

Lufthansa flies over Frankfurt airport
Lufthansa worked with Frankfurt Airport to set up the first testing site. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Frankfurt Airport testing

Simple Flying was fortunate enough to be shown around Centogene’s Frankfurt Airport testing center last month. Having been open for a month at the time, 40,000 tests had so far been administered. Of these, around 100 had come back as positive. Interestingly, those positive cases had mostly originated in low-risk countries.

The testing center, located between the airport and the long-distance train station, was primarily issuing private paid for tests. Here, two swabs were taken and sent to a nearby lab. The turnaround time depends on the type of test paid for. Since then, in line with the government’s current guidelines, mandatory free tests are also being carried out. These are free at the point of use and paid for by the government.

Have you taken a COVID-19 test? Do you think they should remain mandatory? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!