Corona test centre launched at Hamburg Airport

Tests for returning passengers from abroad now possible
03 August 2020
Hamburg Airport

A corona test centre for passengers returning from risk areas is going into operation at Hamburg Airport, a press release said Friday (July 31, 2020). Anyone returning from a risk country must spend 14 days in quarantine. The tests will be carried out by the German Red Cross on behalf of the city at no expense to passengers. All travellers from risk areas must register with the health authorities. Anyone entering the city by bus, ship or plane, for instance, meets this obligation by filling out an exit card, which is then passed onto the health authorities.

Quarantine recommended 

Other people entering the country must notify health authorities separately. Regardless of test, all persons returning from risk areas must go straight into domestic quarantine (§ 35 HmbSARS-CoV-2-EindämmungsVO). Quarantine can only be waived, if the result of the test has been recognized as negative. At least one week's quarantine in highly recommended.  If symptoms occur, another test may be required. Such candidates should contact the local health office by telephone only.

Arriving passengers are taken to the Tango Terminal, which is within walking distance of the security area at Hamburg Airport for tests. The swab is taken under quarantine conditions from persons between 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.. The result will be sent to the person tested and to the relevant health authority, if applicable. Alternatively, tests can be carried out within 72 hours of return from abroad - even from non-risk areas - in doctors' surgeries from early August. Passengers are obliged to send the negative test result to the health office.

Capacities to be increased

"While the infection process is manageable, there is a great risk over the coming days. If infected passengers spread the virus unnoticed, many people can be affected very quickly without us being able to contain the spread. This is something we want to avoid," said Dr. Melanie Leonhard, Senator for Social Affairs. Meanwhile, the German government is holding talks on mandatory tests. A proposed law stipulates that passengers returning from a risk region or country must submit a test to the public health department within 72 hours. Otherwise, the authorities may require the person to have the test done.

The centre’s capacities will be gradually expanded to five test tracks. Then, up to 2,000 expected daily returnees from risk areas can be tested during peak times. The test centre is being set up outside the terminal to separate and control the flow of arriving and departing travellers. Passengers on an aircraft arriving from a risk country will be notified of their obligation to present a boarding pass on entering the terminal. Whether an area or country is at “risk” hinges on the designation by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in place at that time.

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