Earlier this year, German flag carrier Lufthansa opened a COVID-19 testing center at Frankfurt Airport. In the process, it became one of the first airlines to open such a facility. It seems as though launching the test center was a popular idea, as over 150,000 tests took place during the summer.
Testing on arrival is being floated as an idea to re-enable travel while preventing the importation of new COVID-19 cases. However, while the UK travel industry has been vigorously lobbying for such an initiative, the UK Government has yet to budge on its position of no testing. Let’s see what the numbers said in Germany.
1% positive for COVID-19
Over the summer, Lufthansa’s COVID-19 testing center found that around 1% of all tests had come back positive. Towards the start of August, Germany made COVID-19 tests mandatory for those arriving from high-risk areas, and free for all other arrivals. This prompted a massive increase in the number of tests carried out.
Frankfurt Airport’s testing center now can test around 10,000 per day. However, during the summer 2020 season, approximately 4,500 tests were carried out per day. While Lufthansa helped to set up the center, it is open to passengers from all airlines, in addition to local residents.
The German government has stated that it will be altering the testing program for those arriving in the country. This is planned to coincide with the end of the summer travel period. According to The Local, free testing for low-risk passengers will begin end from September 15th. Those from high-risk countries will have to quarantine for five days before being able to take a test.
Commenting, Christina Foerster, Lufthansa Group Customer, IT & Corporate Responsibility Board Member said,
“It is correct that the testing strategy for travellers from high-risk countries will be maintained in September. Instead of abolishing the tests from October and dismantling the successfully established testing infrastructure at airports, the existing testing capacities should be further expanded and used even more extensively”
150,000 tested so far
As was mentioned, so far, over 150,000 individuals have been tested at the COVID-19 center at Frankfurt Airport. The initiative was the product of Lufthansa, Centogene (who does the testing), and Fraport (who provided the space).
Launching such projects in an airport environment usually takes a lot of time and effort due to the additional boxes that must be ticked. However, working together, the three parties managed to get the Frankfurt Airport testing center open in around four weeks. Centogene uses a proprietary COVID-19 test that is made in Germany. With this approach, the company can avoid test shortages and issues prompted by test importation.