All travelers returning from coronavirus risk areas are obliged to observe a 14-day quarantine. Travelers have the option of undergoing COVID-19 testing to reduce the length of quarantine required. Mandatory testing for travelers returning from risk areas has been in place since 8 August. Both Tegel and Schönefeld Airports offer air passengers the option of undergoing testing upon arrival. From tomorrow, the two airport testing stations, which are operated by Charité and Vivantes, will remain open until 10 PM.
The airport-based testing service is exclusively aimed at returning travelers who do not display symptoms of COVID-19. The introduction of mandatory testing and the RKI’s decision to expand its list of designated risk areas have resulted in a sharp increase in testing. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been reviewing our measures and procedures on a regular basis and adapting them to fit the rapidly developing situation. The implementation of the new testing stations has seen us establish – at extremely short notice – well-functioning structures which will enable us to produce highly accurate estimates of infection levels,” says Charité’s Chief Medical Officer Prof. Dr. Ulrich Frei.
Out of the approximately 18,000 people who have been tested since airport screening was introduced in late July, around 250 tested positive. Approximately 8,000 of these tests were performed only last week – producing 90 positives. This increased testing volume needs to be supported by adequate processing times. A positive test results in automatic notification of the relevant public health department. This mirrors arrangements in place for tests conducted at other testing sites and family practices.
Operated by Charité and Vivantes, the testing stations for travelers returning from risk areas offer a fully digitized service, meaning those wishing to undergo testing register digitally and receive their results in electronic format. Opting for a fully digitized service was a conscious decision aimed at removing the susceptibility to human error associated with manual data entry. Explaining the reasons behind this decision, Prof. Frei says: “An increase in testing volume meant there was a need to optimize the system in operation. Processes in place at the testing stations were not affected by this change. Occasionally, there were minor delays in the transmission of negative test results. Positive results remained unaffected. The direct transmission of positive test results to the relevant public health department was guaranteed at all times.”
Airport-based testing forms part of the comprehensive testing strategy developed by Charité on behalf of the Senate of Berlin.
Testing stations in operation from 20 August 2020
Tegel Airport: Terminal D, 8 AM to 10 PM, register on-site
Schönefeld Airport: Terminal L, 8 AM to 10 PM, register on-site
Travelers returning later than 10 PM may return to the airport testing station on the day after their arrival. Alternatively, they can visit one of the statutory health insurance-approved medical practices.
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
t: +49 30 450 570 400
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