Bavaria: Free coronavirus tests for everyone
“Faster, free of charge and for everyone" - This is the motto adopted by Bavaria, the German federal state that has been hardest hit by the pandemic, after approving a policy to provide free coronavirus tests for all its citizens.
Free coronavirus testing for all
On Wednesday, Bavaria became the first German state to offer free coronavirus testing for all its citizens. According the state premier Markus Söder, everyone, even those who do not exhibit any symptoms, will be guaranteed “the shortest possible time that there is a possibility to take a test and receive it promptly.”
Priority will be given to suspected cases and anyone exhibiting symptoms, as well as the people they have been in contact with. A 24-hour guarantee has been instituted, so anyone who falls into this category will be tested within 24 hours and receive their results another 24 hours later.
Bavaria is the state that has been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak in Germany. According to the Robert Koch Institute, as of June 30, Bavaria had recorded over 48.000 cases and 2.594 deaths since the start of the crisis. There are around 13 million people living in the state.
Getting tested in Bavaria
Tests will be carried out by doctors at their practices; however, they will not be obliged to test anyone. If a lot of doctors aren’t willing to carry out the tests, a list of doctors who are will be circulated, so people in Bavaria can reach out to them.
For those with symptoms, or those who have come into contact with those who have symptoms, public health insurance companies will cover the cost of the tests. In all other cases, where the health insurance companies are not obliged to pay for tests, the state will cover the costs.
According to Söder, Bavaria can currently undertake around 20.000 tests per day, with this rising to 30.000 in the future. The free testing is only available to registered residents of Bavaria, although certain exceptions can be made, for instance if someone is registered at a Bavarian doctor, despite living in another state. There is also no limit to the number of tests any one person can take.
There will be frequent free testing for high-risk groups in retirement homes, hospitals and day-care centres, as well as screenings for the employees of these institutions. The state will set aside around 200 million euros to fund the initiative.