Everyone in Germany to be offered free rapid corona tests from March
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn has announced that rapid coronavirus tests will be used much more frequently in Germany from March onwards. All residents will be able to get tested free of charge by a trained professional, while home-testing kits should become more widely available.
Rapid COVID-19 tests free for everyone in Germany from March
Rapid tests for COVID-19 should be free and much more widely available in Germany from March 1, according to a paper, drafted by Spahn, that seeks to overhaul the country’s National Test Strategy.
The new plan would see free coronavirus rapid tests offered to everyone in Germany from March 1, not only in public health test centres, but also in doctors’ surgeries, dentists and pharmacies, with the costs assumed by the federal government.
“There are now significantly more rapid tests available on the market,” Spahn told the German media group RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland on Tuesday. “Therefore, all citizens should be tested free of charge by trained staff with rapid antigen tests.”
Home-testing kits to be made available for small contribution
Spahn’s plans also provide for a massive expansion in the use of COVID-19 self-testing kits in Germany, pending their approval by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices - which is expected in the coming weeks. The Health Ministry is reportedly already engaged in talks with a number of manufacturers to secure sufficient supplies of testing kits for the German market.
However, these kinds of home-test kits will not be available free of charge. Instead, individuals will be able to get hold of them by paying a “small personal contribution”. Spahn suggested one euro as a potential cost. They would primarily be used as part of the testing strategy for daycare centres and schools.
“In addition, low-threshold access for all citizens - if necessary for a small personal contribution - makes sense in the national testing strategy of the federal government,” the document reads. “These tests can contribute to a safe everyday life, especially in schools and daycare centres.”
The proposal will be discussed at the cabinet meeting, scheduled for next Monday.