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Germany ends free COVID-19 tests to promote vaccination

People preferring not to get vaccinated will have to pay for rapid antigen tests needed for inside dining, entering cinemas, concert halls

11.10.2021
Germany ends free COVID-19 tests to promote vaccination

BERLIN

Coronavirus tests for non-medical reasons are no longer free in Germany, authorities announced on Monday.

The Health Ministry said in a statement on Twitter that it stopped subsidizing free coronavirus antigen tests, as all citizens now are offered the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of Oct. 11, rapid antigen tests will be offered only to those who cannot get the vaccine because of health conditions as well as to pregnant women and children under the age of 12.

In most federal states, people without proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 are required to present a negative test result for dining in restaurants, entering cinemas, concert halls and indoor sports venues.

While moving to charge the unvaccinated people for the rapid antigen tests, the ministry underlined that anyone who has any symptoms or is a close contact of a person with COVID-19 will still get a free PCR test.

Vaccination efforts

The German government has accelerated its vaccination campaign in recent weeks, with Health Minister Jens Spahn warning that the current rate of vaccination is far from being sufficient to prevent a surge of coronavirus cases in the winter.

So far, 57 million people in Germany, or 68.5% of the population, have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 54.3 million, or 65.3%, have been fully vaccinated.

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