Berlin (dpa) – In view of the corona pandemic, flight passengers should generally have to be tested before taking off to Germany – starting this Sunday at midnight.
The stricter requirements decided by the federal and state governments should come into force this time so that travelers and airlines can adjust to it, as the Federal Ministry of Health said on Thursday. You should then only be able to get on a plane with a fresh negative test result. This should also apply regardless of the number of infections in the holiday country.
The new compulsory test should initially apply up to and including May 12th. Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) will probably announce the corresponding new entry regulation this Friday. The Federal Cabinet must agree beforehand.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers of the federal states decided on Monday that a test should be compulsory as an entry requirement for flights to Germany. Because more contagious virus variants and their worldwide distribution showed that cross-border travel must continue to be “limited to the absolutely necessary minimum”.
Recently, it became a hot topic that thousands of German holidaymakers flew to the Spanish island of Mallorca, for which testing obligations were no longer applicable due to lower infection rates. The new regulation now applies not only to Mallorca, but in general. And only for flights, not for traveling by other means of transport. An overview:
THE TESTS: PCR laboratory tests or rapid tests with certain minimum requirements can be carried out. Air travelers have to pay for the test out of their own pocket.
THE NEW OBLIGATION TO TEST: The new obligation to test should take effect in the night from Saturday to Sunday. All passengers who want to travel to Germany by plane from midnight onwards must be tested before departure. Crews are excluded. You can have tests done at approved bodies abroad, as it was called in the ministry. The result must be there before departure so that it can be presented to the airline. The swab for the test must not have been taken more than 48 hours before entry. If it is not possible for travelers to get a test certificate, airlines should also be able to offer tests.
THE TEST CONSEQUENCES: You cannot be forced to take a test, as the ministry further explained. However, in the future, the airline will only allow carriage with a negative test certificate. If the corona test turns out positive, you have to go into quarantine at your own risk in accordance with local regulations – and usually bear the costs yourself. Regulations on infection protection are based on the regulations in the holiday country.
THE TEST CHECKS: The airline should check whether travelers have a negative test certificate. In addition, checks by the federal police when entering Germany and also by the health authorities are possible. Airlines must refrain from transporting them to Germany if a passenger has not had a test or if the data provided is “obviously incorrect”. Airlines are threatened with fines if these obligations are violated.
EXISTING TEST OBLIGATIONS: There are already test obligations – but when you return from certain countries with a high risk of infection, this is determined according to an individual classification by the federal government. Travelers who come from “high-incidence areas” with a particularly high number of infections and from areas with new virus variants must present a negative test before departure. Then requirements also apply to quarantine yourself back in Germany.
THE FLUGGESELLSCHAFTEN: The aviation industry still sees unanswered questions about the implementation of the planned general corona test obligation for flights to Germany. In industry circles, reference was made to the short preparation time as well as questions about the infrastructure of certain travel destinations. Prior to this, representatives of the industry had discussed with Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU).
The ministry said that business representatives had confirmed their willingness to participate in the safe travel measures, the ministry said. Tests are the right way to fight against the spread of the virus. Detailed questions of the practical implementation would still be clarified. It’s not just about Mallorca. The federal and state governments had emphasized that they expected tests by crews and passengers from all airlines before the return flight and no further flight expansion during the Easter holidays.