Members of US services in Germany entitled to free coronavirus tests, Red Cross official says – Europe

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Members of US services in Germany entitled to free coronavirus tests, Red Cross official says

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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Coronavirus antigen testing is free for U.S. service members and other Americans living in Germany, including at the Red Cross, where some members of the larger U.S. military community have been billed nearly $ 50 to be tested, health officials said.

The change came into effect earlier this month after the Federal Health Ministry quietly removed a clause from its rules, said Marco Woltermann, director of operations for the German Red Cross in Kaiserslautern.

“We had an agreement talked about on this, but now the clause has been dropped, which means members of the US military are entitled to a so-called citizen test once a week,” he said. declared by email.

Any legal resident of Germany “has the right to a free test,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Berlin confirmed on Monday. US servicemen, Department of Defense contractors, and others covered by the Status of Forces Agreement are considered legal residents of Germany.

Antigen testing is valid for travel to the United States if done within three days of scheduled departure from Germany, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.

U.S. citizens, residents, travelers passing through the United States, and those who are fully vaccinated must show a negative test result, in electronic or printed form, when checking in for their flight, American Airlines said in an email sent to Stars and Stripes last week.

The only exceptions are children under 2 and people who have had COVID-19 and recovered within three months of travel, the CDC and American Airlines said.

Those who have had the virus must show proof of recovery and a letter from their healthcare provider or public health official, saying they are released from isolation and have been allowed to travel , says the CDC on its website.

Air passengers are also required to attest that the information they present is true, he said. The attestation form is available on the CDC website or via the Verifly application. Airlines will provide a hard copy of the form to passengers who have not completed one before arriving at the airport.

Attestation must be completed prior to arrival in the United States

In Germany, rapid antigenic tests are available for people without symptoms at centers outside many companies. The German Red Cross Kaiserslautern has moved its test center from its headquarters on Augustastrasse to the sports area of ​​the Technical University on Paul Ehrlich Strasse.

The Kaiserslautern center is open seven days a week, Woltermann said. Like many other test centers, it requires an appointment, which can be made online at https://drk-kl-uni.probatix.de/de/pick-slot.

“The test takes about 90 seconds,” Woltermann said. The results are emailed to the person who has been tested, usually within 15 minutes, he said.

The Red Cross also offers testing in the surrounding area, including Ramstein, Landstuhl and many villages where Americans live, as well as centers around Bavaria, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden.

Antigen or PCR tests are also needed for Americans traveling to Germany from the United States, the German health ministry said last week. Antigen tests should be no more than 48 hours old and PCR tests should be no more than 72 hours old on arrival in Germany, a ministry spokesperson said. Passengers arriving from the United States must also complete an online registration form before entering Germany.

Fully vaccinated Americans who live in Germany or are visiting on official business should no longer be quarantined upon arrival in the country, the health ministry said.

But just as the United States remains closed to most Europeans, Germany has yet to reopen to American leisure travelers.

Stars and Stripes reporter Marcus Kloeckner contributed to this report.

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Twitter: @StripesZeit

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People line up for a free coronavirus antigen test at Schillerplatz in downtown Kaiserslautern, Germany on May 17, 2021. US service members, contractors and their families, who have already paid for them tests, can access it for free once a day. week, German health officials said.

KARIN ZEITVOGEL / STARS AND STRIPES





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