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Germany: All Residents Entitled to at Least One Free COVID-19 Rapid Test per Week

(Mar. 16, 2021) On March 8, 2021, a new Coronavirus Test Regulation (Coronavirus-Testverordnung, TestV) entered into force in Germany. The regulation introduces the right to “resident testing” (Bürgertestung), which entitles all asymptomatic people to at least one free COVID-19 rapid PoC antigen test per week. The number of free tests is subject to local availability. (TestV, § 4a, § 5, para. 1, sentence 2.) In addition, if their rapid test is positive, people are entitled to up to two additional free PCR tests to confirm the result. (§ 4b, § 5, para. 1, sentence 3.) Tests can be performed in public test centers and doctor’s offices. In addition, the competent local health authorities may authorize the performance of rapid tests by individual doctors, dentists, medical laboratories, pharmacies, rescue and relief organizations, and other providers that can guarantee the proper performance of the tests. (§ 6, para. 1.)

Increased testing of unvaccinated and asymptomatic people is part of the strategy to contain the spread of COVID-19 that the German federal government and the German states agreed upon at their meeting on March 3, 2021. The agreement describes it as an “important component to go back to a more normal.” In addition, the federal government and the German states agreed to form a “Taskforce Testlogistics” to coordinate and ensure maximum availability and prompt delivery of rapid tests, including at-home tests, to the individual states.