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.


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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Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.