Ahead of mandatory testing to be introduced on Monday, one German coronavirus test centre is already churning out 2,000 tests daily.
Lufthansa’s Frankfurt Airport “rapid test” centre – operated in partnership with German pathology giant Centogene – was opened some four weeks ago in a bid to sidestep inbound quarantine requirements. Though the tests aren’t mandatory, Germany allows international passengers arriving from high-risk countries to avoid restrictive quarantine measures if they are able to demonstrate a clean bill of health.
At the time the centre was opened, Lufthansa’s Björn Becker said the procedure gives customers “a comfortable opportunity to test themselves for flights abroad or a stay in Germany, to avoid quarantine”. For those departing, rather than entering, Germany, the tests are also valid upon arrival into certain countries (such as the UAE).
In recent days, the walk-in clinic has revealed that it has processed around 40,000 tests since first opening – a number likely to increase from Monday. Offering a rapid RT-PCR test (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test), the centre has two different payment options:
- €59 for results provided within six to eight hours; or
- €139 for an “express service”, with results provided within three hours (express test).
For €9, test results come complete with an internationally-accredited certificate, which is soon to be linked to individual Lufthansa boarding passes.
Volkmar Weckesser, the chief information officer of Centogene, reportedly told media that only 100 of those screened have tested positive for the virus, a rate of just 0.25 per cent.
Weckesser added that the majority of positive cases had made their way to Frankfurt from countries defined as low risk by the Robert Koch Institute, including France and Denmark.
While the majority of those to have used the facility’s services are Lufthansa passengers, it is open to all airlines and the non-travelling public; Weckesser said local residents have been relying on it before visiting at-risk family members.
Once made mandatory, the German federal government will cover the cost of testing.