Getting out of the plane, coming through controls and baggage claim without long waiting times and driving home: A few weeks ago that was normal to the ideal end of a flight. It can currently be a health hazard for other people – at least if you return from a Corona risk area. But it was exactly the same as Katharina Stein and her family last Friday.
The plane from New York was very full, she reports, “many passengers had canceled their vacation and flew home.” Neither during the flight nor at Frankfurt Airport had there been any instructions about how to proceed. Rather, everything went as if there was no unusual situation: “We thought we might have to fill out a dropout card, but nothing of the sort happened.”
The website of Frankfurt Airport states: “”Passengers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Japan, Iran, and Italy in Germany must provide information about the flight and personal accessibility for the next 30 days before leaving the aircraft Arrive by means of Passenger Locator Cards (PLC). These PLCs are distributed by the crews to the passengers. These cards are deposited at the Frankfurt Health Office for 30 days and can be used to contact you later. “
These measures are only dated March 13th, so they no longer include all of the risk areas identified by the Robert Koch Institute. In addition to the above, Madrid now also includes the Grand Est region in France, Egypt, California, Washington – and New York.
During the entire return trip, she was worried because the recommended safety distance between people was difficult or impossible to maintain, Stein says. After all, her father-in-law, who lives in Freiburg, came to Frankfurt and lent her his car: “That way we could at least drive home isolated from other people – otherwise we would have had to go back to Bremen by train for five hours.” there the family immediately went into voluntary quarantine: “We are all three symptom-free and adhere to the general decree in Bremen: two weeks of quarantine.”
You shouldn’t have to, because this requirement only applies to returnees who have undergone a corona test. And they are not obliged to do so either: the family will only know whether she is infected or not if one of her three members develops symptoms of Covid 19 disease. “Nobody asked us to be tested,” says Stein. An infection often runs without symptoms, especially in younger people and children, but is of course highly contagious.
At the Bremen Health Authority, there is no question of test or quarantine under the keyword “Information for travelers from high-risk areas”. It simply says: “If you traveled to Germany from a risk area 14 days ago or less and you have no symptoms, you should take precautionary measures to monitor your own health and the risk of the spread of the infectious disease to minimize.”
Airports follow guidelines
Apart from the fact that such a recommendation, along with the health risks for others, does not exactly help to clear up a large number of unreported cases of corona infected people: Many people do not know how to behave if they have been in a risk area. “You could at least have handed out flyers or made an announcement – it is completely incomprehensible to me that a complete machine from New York was not asked to go into quarantine,” says Stein and: “I think many of my fellow passengers don’t have taken special measures, but simply behave as everyone is doing at the moment. “
When asked at Frankfurt Airport, the airlines are responsible for the drop-out cards. The airport itself strictly follows the guidelines of the local health department and the Hessian Ministry of Health.
According to airport spokeswoman Andrea Hartmann, the same applies to Bremen Airport that “it always works correctly according to the guidelines of the Bremen Health Office”. In the arrivals, there are displays with information about Covid-19, and where possible, they are also recorded digitally. “Last week, more exhibitors came here with updated instructions from the Health Department for returnees from high-risk areas, and handouts with these instructions are distributed by the federal police,” says Hartmann. There is also information before security control and announcements in the terminal.