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Off to the corona rapid test: How often can you be tested for free?

There are now many places where people can be tested for the coronavirus using a rapid test. But how often are you allowed to visit such a test station? Often it is said: once a week. But that is a mistake.

There is a widespread misconception that citizens can only be tested for the coronavirus free of charge using a rapid test once a week. But every citizen is entitled to several free quick tests per week if there is sufficient test capacity.

Specifically, if you want to be tested regularly in the pharmacy or in the rapid test center, you can do so. Even daily free tests are possible.

“You can have yourself tested as often as necessary. Nobody controls it and it is covered by the ordinance, ”confirms Swantje Middeldorff, the press officer of the press and public relations department of the Baden-Württemberg Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KVBW). The KVBW is the clearing house for providers of the rapid tests, they then receive the money from the federal government.

People would like to be tested more frequently around the pending easing in the urban district of Baden-Baden, the Ortenau district, the district of Rastatt and the city and district of Karlsruhe. Because in order to visit a restaurant, to swim a few laps in the outdoor pool, to go shopping without an appointment or to attend an appointment with the hairdresser, daily quick tests are necessary.

Misconception about corona rapid tests: Only one test per week is allowed

But people are insecure. How should regular tests be presented when only one test per week is allowed for free? The following question can therefore be read on the BNN Instagram channel on an info post about the upcoming easing: “Is there also an innovation regarding the number of free tests? After all, can a full social life with ‘at least one’ test per week not live out in the same way as that of a vaccinated / recovered person? "

This comment can also be read on Instagram: "With exactly one free citizen test per week, you have to think carefully about what you want to do."

Only one test per week is free - how should families manage that?
BNN reader on Facebook

A BNN reader comments on the opening of the outdoor swimming pool in Karlsruhe on the BNN Facebook channel with a reference to social injustices through a limited number of quick tests: "Who pays families with children who might want to go to the bathroom every day during the Whitsun holidays (as a replacement for vacation) ? Only one test per week is free - how should families manage that? A social imbalance arises very quickly ... "

The comments also include how BNN readers are worried about other industries: “I also feel sorry for my hairdresser, but if you can go everywhere for fun every day just with a test, it is time-consuming and also expensive, since pro Week only one citizen test is free. "

Only one quick test per week - where does this misconception come from?

A small subtlety probably gave rise to this misconception. The first regulation on the rapid tests said that people can be tested once a week for free. That was interpreted as an upper limit. Anyone who reads the federal test regulation now will notice that the word “at least” has been added there. It now says that the test offer can "be used at least once a week within the framework of the availability of test capacities".

So if you want to take advantage of the free citizen tests in a test center or in a pharmacy several times a week, you do not have to pay for the rapid tests yourself.

Questions about rapid tests: Corona test regulation is misinterpreted

But the providers of rapid tests are also fueling the misconception that only one corona rapid test per week is possible. On Wednesday, for example, the website of the provider "Corona Schnelltest Karlsruhe", which carries out tests in the Hotel Avia in the north of the city, also mentions a limitation of one test per week: "Free test: With us you can, a place of residence In Germany, provided that you have a free Corona rapid test done once a week. ”Following a BNN query, an adjustment is now being carried out, here too the first prescription was the basis.

If an operator says that this is not possible, then they are misinformed.
Swantje Middeldorff, Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Baden-Württemberg

In theory, you can even have yourself tested several times a day by the same provider. This is also confirmed by Middeldorff from the KVBW: “If you want to be tested, you can go to the same test station several times. If an operator says that this is not possible, then they are misinformed. "

Saxony's Prime Minister already pointed out in a tweet in April that the regulation is being misinterpreted. But the misconception is still widespread.

The KVBW points out that the only limit is the rapid test stations. But if you find a place where you can be tested, for example because there are still appointments or because places are spontaneously free, such as at container rapid test centers for spontaneous visitors, you can have yourself tested there free of charge.

Nobody needs to be afraid of a bill after a quick test

"If I go to test every other day, I'm not breaking any law, so nothing will happen to me," emphasizes Frank Eickmann from the Baden-Württemberg State Pharmacists' Association. "There are no controls as to who goes to a test and how often."

The German data protection system ensures that those who are tested really do not receive an invoice because of too frequent tests, because there is no obligation to store such data. And test providers must specify what they are using the data for. If you are interested, you can read about it in the data protection declarations of the providers, for example when making appointments online.

“The customer usually wants a certificate for his negative test. We collect the personal data in order to be able to issue this certificate. We delete the data again if the test is negative. ”Those who take a test merely agree that they are symptom-free and that their data may be passed on if the result is positive. If a quick test is positive, the test result is sent to the responsible health department.

We want to test a lot in order to detect and avoid infections.
Frank Eickmann, Baden-Württemberg State Pharmacists' Association

No personal data is passed on for billing the tests either. According to the pharmacists' association, only the times and days of the tests are transmitted. Eickmann emphasizes how important the corona rapid tests are and supports people getting tested: "That is also the idea: We want to test a lot in order to detect and avoid infections."