What’s going on?
The new measures were taken out of concern that German tourists flocking to Mallorca during the Easter holidays after the German authorities eliminated the Spanish island as a “risk” country.
As of Tuesday, the general obligation to take tests applies to everyone traveling to Germany by plane.
Previously, only passengers coming from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) designated “high risk” coronavirus areas or “variant areas of concern” were required to present a negative test upon arrival in Germany.
Others from “risk” countries were previously able to get tested when they arrived in Germany.
The RKI has a list of all affected countries and regions. May change on short notice.
The test must be done before take-off in the country of departure. Anyone who cannot provide the airline with proof of a negative result will not be able to board the plane (more on that below).
The new rules went into effect at midnight Monday night and will initially apply through May 12, inclusive, but may be extended.
According to the federal government, it is a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the virus and is intended to protect passengers on airplanes.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders had decided on March 22 that mandatory testing would be a prerequisite for entry on flights due to fears about infectious virus variants.
Merkel and the states said the global spread of variants shows that cross-border travel must continue “limited to the absolute minimum necessary.”
Here’s a quick guide:
THE EXAMS: According to the Ministry of Health, PCR laboratory tests and rapid antigen tests that meet a certain quality standard are allowed.
You must be given a certificate with the result. It can be submitted on paper or digitally in German, English or French. You must indicate the date and type of test.
The swab must have been taken no more than 48 hours before entering Germany. You have to pay for the test out of your own pocket.
For information on test requirements take a look at this information sheet. There is a link to the English version on that page. But keep in mind that some rules are now out of date.
WHERE YOU SHOW IT: The negative test result must be shown to the airline staff before take off. If you do not have a certificate, you will not be allowed to board the plane.
Airline crews and children up to the age of five are exempt. You cannot be forced to take a test. If the test is positive, you must go into quarantine according to the local regulations of the region you are in, and you usually have to pay the costs yourself (unless your insurance or employers cover you for quarantine, for example) .
TEST CHECKS: Airlines are supposed to check if you have a negative test certificate before traveling. Checks by the federal police when entering Germany and also by the health authorities are possible, but may not be carried out.
Airlines should not allow passengers to board if they do not have proof or if the data provided is “obviously incorrect,” the Health Ministry said.
THERE IS NO PROHIBITION TO TRAVEL TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES: At this time, people in Germany are strongly advised not to travel within the country or abroad, but travel is not prohibited.
The federal government had considered temporarily banning tourist travel abroad and the responsible departments were asked to examine the legal possibilities.
However, on Monday night, a government spokesperson referred to the existing advice for travelers in response to a query from the DPA.
“At this time there is no provision for legal regulation that goes beyond this,” the spokesperson said. He said that an investigative mandate issued by the Chancellor on the possible prevention of tourist travel has been closed at this time, indicating that there are no plans to change this at this time.
Other travel rules
The new test obligation is part of a series of travel rules introduced by Germany in an attempt to control the spread of Covid-19. They include quarantine measures and filling in a digital form before traveling to Germany. You have to familiarize yourself with the rules before traveling. They can vary from state to state.
Please note that this article, like all of our guides, is for assistance only. They are not intended to replace official legal advice.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism