Bonn · Many Corona test centres in Bonn have closed or are scaling down their services. The prices for the tests vary in the city area.
For most, the Corona civic test is no longer free of charge as of now. In Bonn, testing had already decreased in the past weeks, which is why many operators closed down their test centres. Some, however, are still open, with widely fluctuating prices.
Where can one still take a rapid test now? This question is likely to be asked by all those who have not yet received a Corona vaccination. Until now, the City of Bonn's website provided reliable information about testing sites throughout the city. But of the more than 300 that used to exist, only about 200 remain, according to the city. 76 locations are listed on bonn.de, but even this number is probably no longer correct. Many numbers listed there are no longer accessible. "It is basically regulated that the test sites report to the health office when they are no longer active," says deputy city spokesman Marc Hoffmann. The health department will start contacting the test centres in the coming days to see if they still offer tests. The reason for the decline is probably the falling demand, also due to the rising vaccination rate. While 197,273 tests were carried out in Bonn in July, there were already 40,000 fewer in September. From 1 to 11 October, the number was 43 477 tests.
Lower reimbursements may also play a role. In the beginning, the federal government paid about 18 Euro per test to the operators, but recently it was only 11.50 Euro. With the end of this cost coverage, the market is supposed to regulate the test business. The prices are as varied as the providers. The prices of pharmacies, doctors' surgeries and shopkeepers range from ten to 30 Euro.
At the Hardt pharmacy in Duisdorf on Monday, people were surprised by the comparatively high demand. By noon, nine people had come to be tested for the coronavirus, an employee reported. "Among them was a PCR test. For the rapid tests, two clients paid themselves, the rest fell under the testing ordinance." That would be about the same as in the past weeks. 16 Euro is the current price for the rapid test. "This is a service that we want to maintain here locally in the future so that people don't have to travel so far," she said.
The situation is different at the Corona test centre on Hohe Straße in Tannenbusch. The operator, who, as he says himself, is a career changer, tells us that things are "going quite modestly". "Compared to a fortnight ago, our number of tests has halved." On Monday, quite a few customers were there, but left again when they found out that they now had to pay themselves. Yet there should be no cheaper tests anywhere in Bonn; the operator charges ten Euro. "I will now observe this for a week. If too few come, I will close down."
Others have already reduced their capacities, like the Proki test centre on Kölnstraße. Instead of four hours a day, they will only be open for one hour from Monday. Sandro Heinemann, one of the largest operators with several test centres in the region, has also noticed a decreasing demand. That is why smaller locations have been closed, but the larger ones, such as the Brückenforum or the Campus Poppelsdorf Uni, will remain open. A rapid test costs 14.90 Euro, PCR tests start at 49.90 Euro.
For the federal government and thus the taxpayer, the citizens' tests cost billions, as a spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) explains. More precisely, about 5.26 billion Euro, as of 15 September. "Of these disbursements, around 4.97 billion Euro were reimbursed from federal funds." For the district of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians of North Rhine, which includes Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg district, it was about 848 million Euro. However, this figure also includes smears in facilities such as old people's homes, so the costs for the pure citizen tests are significantly lower.
However, the BMG has only been recording these figures separately since July. As of September, they amount to about 534 million Euro for the whole of Germany. According to the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, these figures are not yet complete and are likely to increase, as they are received with a delay. In the district of North Rhine, the figure is 108 million Euro for the citizens' tests. With about 9.68 million inhabitants, that makes about 11.10 Euro per citizen since July.
Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach
Translation: Mareike Graepel