Pressure on federal government increases: test obligation for vacation returnees? – Politics


The quarantine provisions that apply to returning travelers from high-risk areas are scarcely checked, despite concerns about new sources of infection at Berlin airports. As a spokeswoman for the federal police told the Tagesspiegel, travelers would only be given information flyers.

The health authorities also said that returning travelers from high-risk areas would have to report to the authorities themselves and either submit a negative corona test or request a test within 48 hours. Otherwise, a 14-day quarantine obligation applies to returnees from risk areas.

But in many cases it is questionable whether this will also be implemented. The Berlin Senator for Health Dilek Kalayci told the Tagesspiegel about the practically nonexistent control of this obligation: “I’m not entirely satisfied with the current solution.” The SPD politician calls for targeted corona tests on returnees. Only relying on voluntary action harbors the risk that “returnees will not stick to it”.

Lauterbach: “It would be optimal to test everyone”

However, a test obligation is hardly legally enforceable. In view of the growing concerns about returning travelers, which could favor new Corona outbreaks, the pressure is increasing on the federal government to pass stricter rules. “It would be optimal to test everyone,” SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach told Tagesspiegel. “And it’s free.”

Given the unreasonableness of some holidaymakers and the generally higher contact density on vacation and at airports, it is necessary that all returnees be asked to have the corona virus tested for free after their vacation.

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Lauterbach emphasized that tests at airports were not sufficient when entering the country. Possible infections on the return trip would then often not be recognized, but only with a test a few days later.

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) has examined whether there should at least be tests for returnees from areas that have a significantly higher number of active cases than Germany, even if they are not risk areas. In Germany, up to 500,000 corona tests were last carried out per week. The high test density is an important building block for early identification of foci of infection.

Turks living in Germany are particularly affected

Turks living in Germany are particularly affected by the restrictions for non-EU countries. Around 183,000 people of Turkish descent are currently registered in Berlin alone. In the past three weeks, just over 30,000 passengers flew from Berlin airports to Turkey or from there back to Germany.

According to the Infection Protection Ordinance, all passengers from Turkey would have to show a negative corona test to the local health authorities upon arrival if they wanted to avoid quarantine.

The decision by the Federal Foreign Office to extend the travel warning for Turkey until August 31 had offended many German Turks and caused diplomatic upset. The leader of the Turkish community, Attila Karabörklü, complained that the communication was too late and criticized the different ways of dealing with EU countries that were severely affected by corona.


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