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For travelers returning from high risk areas: Free corona testing at Cologne/Bonn Airport

For travelers returning from high risk areas : Free corona testing at Cologne/Bonn Airport

Passengers can now have themselves tested for the coronavirus at Cologne/Bonn Airport - around the clock. For travelers coming from high risk areas, the test is even free of charge from Saturday onwards.

Starting on Saturday, the newly established Corona Testing Center at Cologne/Bonn Airport will offer corona testing free of charge for passengers arriving from high risk areas. The City of Cologne made this information public on Friday afternoon. Costs will be covered by the state. The high risk areas are listed on the website of the Robert Koch Institute. Health ministers of the German states had made an agreement with Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn on Friday that in the future there will be free testing at all German airports for passengers returning from high risk areas. It is also expected that coronavirus testing will be free of charge for returnees from non-risk areas in the future, but that will not be offered directly upon entry into Germany.

The testing center at Cologne/Bonn Airport expanded its services on Tuesday and is now testing passengers and people from the surrounding area around the clock for Sars-CoV-2. In the first few days, testing was available between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.; since Tuesday, the testing is offered 24 hours a day. Up to now, the tests have been available for a fee of 90 euros, with travelers having had to pay the costs themselves.

The voluntary humanitarian organization Johanniter in Cologne is responsible for the operation of the facility and has three employees on site. A physician from the municipal health department also works there, according to the City of Cologne. Travelers will find the testing center at the long-distance bus station at Terminal 2, where Johanniter is on site with a mobile vehicle. During the first few days, the staff set up their tents at the P1 car park on the lower level of the airport. They moved on Tuesday to the new location so they would be more visible.

The testing center is running smoothly and orderly, according to Nils Kirner, head of operations. "Last weekend we had a very big demand", he said. Initially, many people from the surrounding area and even from abroad came to be tested - including from Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. In the meantime, however, more and more passengers are taking advantage of the offer, both those returning to Germany and those who want to be tested before they leave Germany for another destination.

According to Kirner, more than 500 people had been tested at the airport by Friday. Ten to twelve tests per hour are possible. On average, a test takes about ten minutes and the personal data of those tested is recorded.

According to the City of Cologne, test results should be available within 24 hours and are sent to the tested persons by phone call or via an app. Anyone entering the country from a high risk area has to go into domestic quarantine for 14 days. However, if the test is negative, the responsible health authorities can waive the quarantine obligation. But until the result is available, travelers must remain in quarantine.

According to the city, the mobile operation is initially planned for one week. It is expected that a permanent testing station will be set up within the arrival terminal next week.

Orig. text: Andreas Dyck

Translation: ck