From Monday coronavirus tests in Germany are not free any more

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) is defending the decision that coronavirus tests in Germany will no longer be free from Monday 11 October. “Fairness” to the taxpayer requires that we start charging money for tests again, Spahn told newspapers of the Funke media group. He justified this on the grounds that all people for whom recommendations have been made to undergo the COVID-19 vaccination could already benefit.

Doctors are concerned that the paid tests will increase the number of coronavirus infections

“That’s why, starting Monday, testing will be free only for those for whom vaccination recommendations have not been made,” Spahn said. This is especially true for children and adolescents. However, also tests carried out in nursing homes, hospitals, schools or workplaces will continue to be free. SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach hopes that more people will now get vaccinated.

However, the move has not been without its critics. The doctors’ trade union Marburger Bund fears an increase in infections. “Paid testing for coronavirus will lead to fewer people with symptoms getting tested in the future,” president Susanne John told RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland. She added that the situation is exacerbated by the fact that there is no certainty about what percentage of the population is actually vaccinated.

Confusion over statistics on vaccinations performed

After the Robert Koch Institute (IRK) recently significantly revised its figures upwards – it now reports the percentage vaccinated at around 80 percent instead of 65 percent as before – politicians from the FDP and the Greens accused the institute of lacking distance from the federal government and expressed their dissatisfaction with institute head Lothar Wieler. Green politician Dieter Janecek stressed that other countries “do not have such problems with recording the percentage of people vaccinated.”

Meanwhile, the German Patient Protection Foundation has demanded that the federal and state governments standardize regulations for nursing home testing. It believes the tests should be free for both staff and residents. Eugen Brysch of the foundation’s board of directors told “Evangelischer Pressedienst” in Dortmund on Sunday: “After all, it must be ensured that 900,000 nursing home residents can be visited without hindrance.”


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