Bumpy start for free corona rapid tests

The nationwide free tests should start this Monday, but there are problems everywhere. Many doctors' practices and pharmacies have not even gotten started - and sometimes refer to the federal government at a loss

At the start of the free corona rapid tests on Monday, there were still bottlenecks in many places in Germany. As inquiries in several federal states showed, pharmacies and medical practices were not or only insufficiently prepared for the tests in the area at the beginning of the week. Many questions were also unanswered - for example, how exactly the free tests should be recorded in order to prevent multiple tests of one person per week.

Delay in delivery in some countries

The latest federal-state resolution on the corona crisis stipulates that the federal government will assume the costs of a rapid test per citizen and week from this Monday. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) had already pointed out on Friday that the tests could not be offered consistently in all countries from Monday, but that it should start quickly.

In the case of the rapid tests, trained personnel - for example in pharmacies, doctor's offices or test centers - carry out the rapid test using a nose or throat swab. The federal government said that the federal government would pay for the tests, but that the states themselves would have to order the rapid tests and create the infrastructure for them.

Waiting for the corona test regulation

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, every test center already has a documentation system. “After a quick test, the person tested receives a document stating who, with whom, when and with what result was tested,” wrote a spokeswoman dpa-Inquiry. It initially remained unclear whether this documentation requirement also applies to pharmacists and general practitioners.

The President of the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations (ABDA), Gabriele Regina Overwiening, said on Monday in ZDF morning magazinethat it will not be possible to implement the tests immediately and everywhere. Several regional pharmacists' associations, for example in Bavaria and Brandenburg, pointed out in the morning that they would still wait for the federal government's amended Corona test regulation and would not be able to test before that.

According to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KV), medical practices in Thuringia have not yet been able to offer free corona tests for the same reason. Almost parallel to these rapid tests, lay self-tests for use at home have also been available since Saturday. In the discount stores, as Aldi and Lidl announced, the rush was great.

Big rush is not expected yet

Also in the test centers there was a lot of activity on Monday - like in Berlin, where the free tests started in 16 centers. "It is well received," said Health Senator Dilek Kalayci (SPD), according to a spokesman.In the morning there were already more than 10,000 appointment bookings by the end of the week.

The managing director of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, Gerd Landsberg, does not assume that there will be a big rush for the free quick tests right from the start. The run will only be bigger if it has a concrete advantage, Landsberg said on Monday ZDF morning magazine. "At the moment when you need such a test to go to the cinema, the theater or anywhere else, then once a week is simply not enough," said Landsberg. You have to prepare for it.

"Much more frequent testing would be necessary"

According to the manufacturer, around 150 million rapid tests were dumped at the beginning of March that could be delivered to federal states and municipalities. The newly elected left chairwoman Janine Wissler also said on Monday that there had to be more than one test per week. "Much more frequent testing would be necessary," said Wissler at an online conference.

The Bund-Länder-Round had to develop and implement a test strategy before opening new steps, criticized the left leader. In addition to testing, progress in vaccination should accompany the return to more normalcy in everyday life. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), at least three percent of the population are now fully vaccinated against the corona virus. Around 2.5 million people have already received the second dose of the vaccine (data as of March 8, 8 a.m.).

Incidence values ​​are rising again

A total of 6.2 percent (around 5.2 million) have therefore received at least one dose. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had on the ZDF broadcast on Sunday evening Berlin directly stresses that vaccinations would pick up speed at the end of the month. "Up to ten million vaccinations per week" will then be possible in the coming months, said the SPD candidate for chancellor.

However, the infection process gives only partial cause for hope. The health authorities reported 34 new deaths to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day on Monday - and thus fewer than since November 1. The number of new infections increased noticeably with 5011 new corona infections compared to Monday last week. The nationwide seven-day incidence was 68 nationwide on Monday, according to the RKI - and thus higher than the day before.

Coronavirus infection