Germany: what test is required for travel, shopping

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Rapid test, home use test or PCR test: how are coronavirus testing methods different? How much do they cost and where can they go? What test is required, for example, to travel abroad?

The vaccination process in Germany is still stuck. Since the beginning of the vaccination campaign, about 5 million people have been vaccinated. So that, despite this, it was possible to slowly get out of quarantine, the federal government is betting on tests that do not need laboratory research.

Express test

Starting Monday, March 8, all residents of the country are eligible to take at least one free rapid coronavirus test per week. It can also be done by people who do not have symptoms, for example, in pharmacies, specially equipped test centers, or in medical institutions. This opportunity does not yet exist in all federal states. However, this service should soon be available throughout the country. Trained personnel must take a nasopharyngeal swab to perform the test. The taken sample is applied to a special strip. By changing its color, after 15-20 minutes it becomes clear whether a person is infected. Payment for tests, which are performed more often than once a week, is made by the patient himself.

Home Use Tests

Rapid tests for home use are necessary in everyday situations, for example, to meet friends, in the future, to visit institutions. You can buy them at pharmacies, stores, or online. These tests are performed almost like rapid tests, which require trained personnel. The result becomes known in about 20 minutes. Residents of the country should buy tests themselves. Their cost varies from 2 to 10 euros per piece. They are often sold in a set of five.

PCR test

The PCR test is carried out by trained personnel in specially equipped testing centers. Tests can usually only be taken by appointment or after a telephone consultation with a doctor who issues a referral for testing. In this case, the cost of testing is borne by the health insurance companies. If the test is carried out at the request of the patient, without an appointment – for example, due to airline regulations – the cost of testing in the amount of about 60 euros is borne by the patient himself. In some federal states, the cost of the test reaches 190 euros. The result from the PCR test is available after 48 to 72 hours.

What are the differences between these methods

Home use tests can be done without special medical knowledge. In addition, unlike rapid tests, samples are taken from the anterior region of the inner wall of the nose. Follow the instructions for use. Tests that require only the patient’s saliva will soon be on the market. It is also planned to admit options where the result can be obtained by rinsing the throat.

Are the results reliable

The PCR test is able to detect even the smallest particles of the virus in the human body. Antigen tests are not as reliable. A negative result means that the patient is most likely not currently contagious or highly contagious. However, it does not show whether a person is infected or not. A positive result must be checked using a PCR test. In case of a negative result, you must adhere to the quarantine rules. Especially keep distance and wear a mask.

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