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VACCINE

How to prove you have recovered from Covid-19 in Germany

Alongside vaccination and providing a negative test result, recovering from Covid also entitles you to some freedoms in Germany. Here’s how to prove it.

How to prove you have recovered from Covid-19 in Germany
A person receiving a PCR test. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

Some parts of Germany (although not all quite yet) are opening up public life again as Covid-19 infections fall.

In Germany there are three ways to show that you don’t have coronavirus or are immune in order to take part in certain activities, such as going for a meal in a restaurant or visiting a bar.

These involve being ‘Getestet, Geimpft oder Genesen’ (tested, vaccinated or recovered). You can either provide proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test, show proof that you have been fully vaccinated or show proof that you have recovered from Covid within a particular time frame.

READ MORE:

I had Covid-19. How do I prove that?

While you will get paper evidence when you are vaccinated or test negative (you also get a digital PDF from some test centres), proving that you have had the virus and recovered can get a little more difficult.

This is the case particularly if you did not visit the doctor when you caught (or believe you caught) Covid – unfortunately you won’t be able to show proof that you had coronavirus if this applies to you. 

Those who have recovered require proof of a previous infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that can be in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish, in paper or digital form, according to the government. 

The test must have been a PCR test (or similar), checked in a lab and taken at least 28 days ago. It must also not be older than six months.

If you had Covid-19 nine months ago, for example, you won’t fall into this category. In this case you’ll have to take a rapid test to visit a shop or restaurant in some parts of Germany unless you are fully vaccinated.

EXPLAINED: What are Germany’s new freedoms for vaccinated people and Covid-19 survivors?

Unlike Austria for example, an antibody test is not sufficient in Germany. Officials say that’s because antibodies can decrease over time.

Is there anything else I should know?

The government says in all cases when taking part in the newly unlocked activities – whether they are ‘Getestet, Geimpft or Genesen’, people must not have any symptoms of a possible Covid-19 infection.

These include shortness of breath, new coughs, fever, and loss of smell or taste. If you have these symptoms and suspect you have Covid-19, you should contact your doctor or your local health authority to arrange for a PCR test, and self-isolate.

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COVID-19

Pandemic in Germany unlikely to end this year, says top virologist

High profile German virologist Christian Drosten believes Germany will see a severe spike in Covid infections after summer, and that the pandemic will not become endemic this year.

Pandemic in Germany unlikely to end this year, says top virologist

Drosten previously said that Germany would probably be able to declare the end of the pandemic this year.

But in an interview with Spiegel, Drosten said he had reevaluated his opinion. 

“When the Alpha variant came, it was very surprising for me. When Delta appeared I was sceptical at first, then with Omicron we had to reorient ourselves again. And since January there have already been new Omicron subtypes.

“So I would actually like to correct myself: I no longer believe that by the end of the year we will have the impression that the pandemic is over.”

READ ALSO: End is in sight for pandemic in Germany, says virologist 

Drosten also said that Germany will not see a largely Covid-free summer, which has been the case in previous years, and a further increase in infections in autumn. 

“We are actually already seeing an exponential increase in case numbers again,” Drosten said.

“The BA.5 variant (of Omicron) is simply very transmissible, and people are losing their transmission protection from the last vaccination at the same time.”

In other countries, he said, when the number of cases become high, hospitalisation and death rates also rise again. “Unfortunately, that will also be the case here,” said Drosten, but added: “Overall, however, far fewer people will become seriously ill and die than in 2021.”

Drosten said he expected many more infections from September.

“I hope that the school holidays will dampen the increase in cases somewhat. But from September, I fear we will have very high case numbers,” the head of the virology department at Berlin’s Charité hospital told Spiegel.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister lays out autumn Covid plan

Virologist Christian Drosten at a Covid press conference in 2021.

Virologist Christian Drosten at a Covid press conference in 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

If the government does not take any action, he predicted there would be a lot of sick leave across all industries. “That will become a real problem,” he said.

Drosten said he did not expect overcrowded intensive care units in Germany.

But the new BA.5 sub-variant, which is becoming dominant in Germany, may affect people more strongly. 

“The wheel is turning more towards disease again,” said Drosten. It is not true that a virus automatically becomes more and more harmless in the course of evolution. “That makes me even more worried about the autumn,” he said.

Drosten recommends wearing masks indoors during the colder months, saying it is “the least painful” measure.

If, in addition, “up to 40 million people could be immunised or given a booster vaccination” before winter, for example by urgently calling for company vaccinations, that would “really make a difference”, Drosten said.

In the long term, he said it’s inevitable that people will become infected with coronavirus.

He said the population immunity due to vaccinations and infections will at some point be so strong that the virus will become less important. “Then we will be in an endemic state,” said Drosten. In the worst case, however, this could take “several more winters”.

However, Drosten warned against people trying to deliberately infect themselves with Covid, saying getting the infection in summer doesn’t mean people will be protected in winter. 

Drosten himself said he has not yet contracted Covid-19.

“So far, I guess I’ve just been lucky,” he said. “I rarely put myself in risky situations, but I’m not overly cautious either.”

‘Pandemic depends on behaviour’

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)’s latest weekly report, more outbreaks are occurring in care homes, and the number of patients in intensive care units is slightly rising as infections go up. 

The institute said there had been a 23 percent increase in the 7-day incidence compared to the previous week. On Friday the 7-day incidence stood at 618.2 infections per 100,000 people. There were 108,190 infections within the latest 24 hour period and 90 deaths. 

“The further course of the pandemic depends not only on the occurrence of new virus variants and the uptake of vaccinations on offer, it also depends to a large extent on the behaviour of the population,” said the RKI.

According to the DIVI intensive care register, the number of Covid-19 patients in ICUs had increased to 810 on Thursday this week, from about 600 at the beginning of the month.

However, that number is still low compared to previous Covid peaks when thousands of people were in intensive care in Germany. 

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