Rapid test for returning travelers from so-called risk areas for the corona virus at the airport in Frankfurt am Main.

Photo: dpa / Boris Roessler

The airports in Munich, Düsseldorf, Cologne / Bonn and Dortmund have offered free examinations for the first time since last Saturday. So far, there has been the opportunity to test in Frankfurt am Main, Munich and Cologne / Bonn, whereby the travelers had to pay for it themselves. Berlin wants to follow this week, other airports also want to follow suit soon. Hamburg and Hanover announced that there was still no date for the start of the test.

If you do not have a negative test, you have to go into quarantine for two weeks as before. Travelers from non-risk countries, including almost the entire EU, can also be tested voluntarily within 72 hours.

Which countries belong to the so-called risk areas?

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has classified more than 100 countries worldwide as areas in which there is an increased risk of infection with the corona virus. Egypt, Israel, Turkey, South Africa and the USA are among them. So far, people returning from the countries have had to quarantine in Germany for 14 days unless they have a negative corona test that is 48 hours old or less. They also have to report to their health department. However, it is questionable whether the returnees actually always go into quarantine.

Who conducts the tests at the airports?

That is not yet certain. The Working Group of German Commercial Airports emphasizes that airport employees are not authorized to check passengers for their health status. However, should the health authorities order a quick test of any kind, this would have to be carried out by the authorities.

What tests is it about?

Common tests for acute corona infection are the so-called PCR tests. As a rule, helpers take smears from the nose or throat with a stick, which are then examined for the genetic material of the pathogen Sars-CoV-2. However, these tests are only a snapshot. It can therefore happen that the virus cannot be detected in a recently infected person at the time of the test.

How can you tell if you are transferring from a risk area?

The airlines have the data of the passengers, the travel routes and who they were sitting next to. Basically, it can be used to determine whether a passenger has changed from a risk area.

Is it just about air travelers?

This does not seem to have been finally clarified. A big question is how to deal with car, train and boat travelers. Returning travelers from high-risk areas is not just about air travel.

Can travelers volunteer to be tested at airports today?

For almost a month now, passengers in Frankfurt am Main have had the corona virus tested. At Munich Airport there has also been an option for travelers to get tested voluntarily but at a cost since the end of June. The test costs 59 euros and as a quick test 139 euros. Agencies / nd