Guidance for all staff members, guests and visitors on entries from abroad

Dear colleagues,

Please find an update according to the recently in Germany implemented general regulation concerning arrival from abroad:

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) continues monitoring the worldwide pandemic and is actively maintaining a list of international risk areas that currently present an increased risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2. This risk area list presently consists of more than 150 regions including India, Iran, Turkey, the USA, Luxembourg, Antwerp, mainland Spain, and the Spanish Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera, and others, but not including the Canary Islands).

You should carefully check this list of risk areas when choosing a travel destination and when returning from any trip.  We advise all employees to avoid risk areas if possible.

Starting August 8, every person who enters Germany from an RKI-designated risk area must be tested for the novel coronavirus.  This mandatory testing rule applies to people of all nationalities, to people of all ages including children and small children, and to all forms of travel, including residents returning from vacation and people starting new jobs at our institute.

An individual entering Germany has three options for this mandatory first test:

  1. Taking an RKI-recognized molecular biological (PCR) test shortly before beginning your return journey and presenting your negative test result at the airport or other entry point.  The negative test result must be less than 48 hours old at the time of presentation to be considered valid.  PCR tests from all EU countries and about 100 other countries are currently recognized by the RKI .
  2. Submitting to a free PCR test at their point of entry; in Baden-Württemberg the test is presently available at Stuttgart airport, Karlsruhe airport, Friedrichshafen airport, the main Stuttgart train station, and on the A5 at the motorway service station in Neuenburg-Ost.  It is also available at Frankfurt airport and other major airports across Germany.  Please note that the waiting time may sometimes be several hours.
  3. Obtaining a free PCR test at a corona testing center, a specialist practice, or their family doctor’s practice within 72 hours of returning. In Tübingen a central corona test center at the Tübingen fairground (Festplatz) was reopened. BEFORE going there, please call your physician, he/she will preregister you for the test! Testing is performed daily except Sundays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. In the morning between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. only persons without symptoms are tested, in the afternoon between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. only those with symptoms are tested. The health insurance card must be presented to facilitate the recording of personal data. Results will be directly sent by the test center.

Importantly, all travelers entering Germany from a risk region are required to remain in quarantine until a negative test result is obtained.  Individuals who are found to deliberately or negligently disobey these regulations can be punished by a fine of up to 25,000 EUR.

Furthermore, each individual must also register with the local authorities upon their entry from a risk region.  In Tübingen region, please write to  ordnung-gewerbe(at)tuebingen.de stating the risk region you came from, the date and time of your return to Germany, what means of transport (plane, train, car, etc.) you used, your name, your nationality, and your address in the Tübingen region.  If you already have a negative test result, please also include it in the message.

Because the PCR test cannot detect very recent exposures to SARS-CoV-2, and because it sometimes gives false negative results, the health authorities also strongly encourage everyone to undergo a second PCR test four to five days after entering Germany from a risk region.  This test is also free and can be obtained at all the same locations as the first mandatory test. The campus crisis team agrees and strongly recommends this second test particularly for those returning from risk areas!

Coworkers who wait for their test results after returning from risk areas are expected to immediately contact their superior in order to clarify whether they can work from home or have to take vacation days during the waiting period.

The crisis unit recognizes that this recommendation for a second negative test incurs additional burden on our employees who enter Germany from a risk region.  However, we are confident that the benefits of reducing the chances of COVID-19 transmission within our campus community outweigh the drawbacks. 

According to the “Corona-Verordnung Ba-Wü”, Max-Planck-Haus - as a lodging establishment - is not allowed to rent rooms to people arriving from risk areas, except they have an officially recognized negative test result (in German or English) not older than 48 hours (Information on the recognition of tests: www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Tests.html).

So if there is a valid negative test prior to arrival they can be accommodated at MPH. If the test is just done on their arrival (e.g. airport), they will have to wait for the result before moving into MPH and stay somewhere else. However the campus crisis team strongly recommends a second test also for those people from risk areas.

One other useful point to know is that individuals entering Germany from all other regions (aside from risk areas) are also eligible to receive a free PCR test within 72 hours of entry.  These tests can be obtained at the same locations listed above; you should bring proof of your stay outside Germany, such as flight tickets or a hotel invoice.  Quarantine is not generally required before undergoing this voluntary test or waiting for its results, but individuals who were possibly exposed and/or who are experiencing symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 should self-isolate and contact a doctor or the health authorities.

Questions and concerns can be addressed to the campus crisis unit at any time (krisenstab.campus(at)tuebingen.mpg.de)

Update of September 11, 2020

  • From 16 September on, only free tests for returnees from risk areas
  • Continued operation of the Corona test stations until new quarantine rules for travellers from high-risk areas come into force (beginning of October at the earliest)
  • Nationwide reopening of Corona test centres