Corona pandemic: when are rapid tests important? – Knowledge

You should continue to get tested if you have symptoms. Photo: dpa/Julian Stratenschulte

Tens of thousands are still being tested for Covid-19 every day – free of charge until at least June 30th. That doesn’t always make sense.

The binding 2G and 3G rules have been abolished, both in public life and in the workplace. However, rapid corona tests are still available, and PCR tests will continue to be offered. What else do you need the tests for? When are they useful? We have put together the most important questions.

Are the tests free?

The coronavirus test regulation, i.e. the legal basis for the free citizen tests, was recently extended until June 30, 2022. Everyone is therefore still entitled to a rapid test at least once a week. In other words: You still don’t have to pay anything at the official test stations. This is costing the federal government dearly. In March 2022 alone, the Ministry of Health spent around 1.5 billion euros on this. Therefore, Andreas Gassen, the chairman of the board of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, is now in favor of ending this practice. The opposition in the Bundestag is also calling for a reconsideration of unprovoked, untargeted testing.

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When should you test yourself?

“In my opinion, rapid tests are still useful in areas at risk, for example before entering clinics and care facilities – for visitors and staff,” says Eckhard Lindemann, general practitioner from Esslingen. Tests could also reduce the risk of infection before major events. “And if symptoms appear, you should test yourself anyway,” says Lindemann. Pedram Emami, President of the Hamburg Medical Association, agrees: “The pandemic is not over yet. Hence my request: continue to wear a mask and keep your distance when you meet many people. And test yourself if you have symptoms. Either at home or in the test centers.”

Are there situations where a rapid test is mandatory?

No, nobody has to be tested if they don’t want to. It is different if there is a positive self-test. Then you are actually obliged to have an antigen rapid test carried out at an official test center or a PCR test for confirmation.

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Do I have to isolate if my self-test at home was positive?

no Only when the result is confirmed by an official test is there an obligation to stay at home. However, the conference of health ministers decided last Thursday to revise the rules for isolating corona infected people. In future, the isolation will only last five days. In Baden-Württemberg, a final free test after five days is no longer necessary for most people if they have had no symptoms for two days.

When is a right to PCR testing?

If a self-test or an official rapid test is positive, the PCR test is free of charge. If there are symptoms, a doctor can also order a PCR test.

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