Will Covid rapid tests continue to be free in Germany?

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Will Covid rapid tests continue to be free in Germany?
A sign for free Covid tests in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel

People in Germany are able to get Covid-19 antigen tests free of charge. How long will this continue?


What's happening?

Germany has been offering taxpayer-funded Covid-19 tests to everyone since March 2021, bar a few weeks in October when people had to pay for tests in a bid to encourage unvaccinated people to get jabbed. 

People in Germany - including tourists - are entitled to at least one free Bürgertest (although they are for everyone, not just citizens), per week, and sometimes more depending on the region or city. 

The tests are aimed at helping people to monitor their infection status and catch infections. 

READ ALSO: Germany's current Covid mask rules


They are also used to show when people can get a PCR test. People in risk groups – like medical staff – can get a free PCR test if they have symptoms, while others have to show a positive antigen test result first. 

Negative rapid test certificates were also needed for some people to enter venues when the 3G/2G Covid health pass rules were in place, but they have been lifted. 

Will antigen tests remain free?

Back in March, the German Health Ministry said the free tests would continue until the end of May. However, the test offer has now been extended until the end of June. 

That means people will be able to go to testing centres and access a free Covid-19 test up to and including June 30th 2022. 

From July, people will have to pay for Covid tests. They can cost anywhere between around €15 and €50, depending on the test centre and their current deals. 

German media have reported that health authorities are to ask test centres not to close when free-of-charge tests end. 

However, as demand slows down, many centres or test stations will likely close their doors. 

What about PCR tests?

PCR tests, which are considered the most reliable in detecting Covid infections, are covered by health insurance for people who are referred to get one. In Germany, a doctor or health official generally has to give the go-ahead to get a PCR test for free. They are aimed at people with Covid-19 symptoms. People who get a positive rapid test can also receive one at no extra cost. 

READ ALSO: Germany sets out new Covid isolation rules

People can, however, pay for a PCR test in a test centre if they need one for their own reasons, for example when travelling. They can cost anything from €40 to €150 depending on how quickly the customer wants the result. 

What about Covid self-administered tests?

At-home tests are available to buy in supermarkets, chemists and drugstores across Germany. At the moment they cost around €1.50 to €3 per test. During Covid peaks, self-tests regularly sell out and prices can go up. 


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