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Currently passengers arriving to Germany from high risk areas have to self-isolate for 10 days (source). 

However, there is a way to shorten that:

The quarantine period may be ended on the basis of a negative test carried out no earlier than five days after entry.

This seems logistically iffy, however. To get tested in a clinic/test centre one would have to break quarantine and exit the apartment/hotel that they’re staying in.

Is physically getting out of the house to get tested allowed in this case?

Self-administered tests?

I could not find any info on if self-administered tests are valid. They don't seem to be valid for entry. But maybe using such a test for shortening the quarantine period is a different story?

Welche Tests werden anerkannt?

Es werden grundsätzlich Verfahren der Nukleinsäureamplifikationstechnik (PCR, LAMP, TMA) und Antigentests zum direkten Nachweis des Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 anerkannt.

Antikörper-Tests werden nicht anerkannt.

Die Testungen können durch folgende Personen vorgenommen oder überwacht werden:

  • in Deutschland oder im Ausland von einem Leistungserbringer nach § 6 Absatz 1 der Coronavirus-Testverordnung, oder

  • im Rahmen einer betrieblichen Testung im Sinne des Arbeitsschutzes durch Personal, das die dafür erforderliche Ausbildung oder Kenntnis

und Erfahrung besitzt, oder

  • im Ausland von einer nach dem Recht des jeweiligen Staates befugten Stelle.

Der Nachweis kann in deutscher, englischer, französischer, italienischer oder spanischer Sprache in verkörperter oder digitaler Form erbracht werden.

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    Not a proof, but I live in Germany and whenever I had to go into quarantine for travel reasons, I always broke quarantine to go to the test center (although of course after the test I immediately returned home and did not leave until I got the results via email). All my friends and acquaintances did the same, it is the only sensible interpretation of the rules. Aug 9 at 8:20
  • Just from my own experiences: when I traveled to Germany a couple of months ago I asked a local test center the same question (if I was allowed to leave for the test); they told me it's fine to come over and get the test done. It was a free testing site, outdoors (in tents) near a larger shopping area.
    – Katai
    Aug 9 at 14:34
  • I recall reading on some website by the Government of Bavaria back in February that quarantine may be left for the purpose of getting tested. I believe the phrase used at the time was "Zur Durchführung eines Tests darf die Quarantäne unterbrochen werden". However, I cannot find it anymore.
    – Jan
    Aug 11 at 16:41
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The relevant ordinance (Coronavirus-Einreiseverordnung) explicitly mentions (see article §4, paragraph (2), fourth sentence)

Die Absonderung nach Absatz 1 Satz 1 wird für die Dauer, die zur Durchführung eines Tests erforderlich ist, ausgesetzt.

which means

  • The isolation described by Paragraph 1, Sentence 1 [of Article §4] is interrupted for the time necessary to carry out a test.

So you do not need to worry. Of course, it is safer if you book an appointment for your test and carry it with you on that day.


Other members mentioned checking with the local Gesundheitsamt. This is also a great option since the details of the quarantaine are left for the provinces to define. They should be able to provide assistance even if you only speak english - the only hassle might be some automated phone assistant at the beginning.

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    I'm marking this answer as accepted since it cites the official ordinance. I also added some points from other commenters for visibility. Everyone was extremely helpful here, thanks!
    – Paul
    Aug 13 at 8:24
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Is physically getting out of the house to get tested allowed in this case?

That's the most logical interpretation even if the relevant regulation (Einreiseverordnung des Bundesgesundheitsministeriums vom 30. Juli 2021) isn't explicit about that. In fact, while general entry conditions are defined at the federal level, I believe the exact details of the quarantaine are left for the provinces to define.

Other, arguably somewhat less authoritative, official materials support this interpretation. For example this FAQ from the provincial government in Rhineland-Palatinate repeatedly mentions “Vornahme eines Coronatests” as one of the few reasons to leave your residence during isolation, even for people who already tested positive. It seems the local regulation also defines what counts as an acceptable “test facility” and may provide an answer to your question about self-tests.

It would seem worthwhile to check if the province of your intended place of isolation also published similar guidelines.

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    For Berlin: Vollzug des Infektionsschutzgesetzes (IfSG) - Berlin.de The isolation ends with the detection of a negative PCR test result. and later in the text: For tests that are to be carried out in accordance with this general decree, for other tests ordered by the health department, you may leave the isolation location. Aug 8 at 20:42
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I had this situation in January when I returned to Germany from holiday in a country that happend to be declared high risk while I was visiting. I phoned the local health department (Gesundheitsamt) while I was in quarantine with exactly this question.

Their response was that I should carry a proof of the upcoming appointment with me when I leave the home on my way to the testing center, and reminded me that I should not use public transport etc. and limit contact to the public to the best of my ability.

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    Funny, where I live (Regensburg, Bavaria) you never needed an appointment to go to the testing center. I guess in your state it is different? Aug 9 at 13:16
  • @DenisNardin In January you never needed an appointment? In January we had no test centers in our neighbourhood, now we have 3. Either you register an appointment (with a pdf and qr-code confirmation) for a 10 minute timeslot (which show how many places are still free) or go by without an appointment and are sliped into the next free slot. Aug 9 at 13:40
  • @DenisNardin yes I'm from Baden-Wuerttemberg, and pretty close to the border of Bavaria. My appointment was actually in a doctors office in bavaria, because I hoped it might be free of charge (as they were for bavarians at that time), but when they realized I'm not from bavaria they checked back with the laboratory where they sent their samples to get analyzed, and I eventually got a quote from lab over 160€. The "prove of appointment" I had was just an email confirming the date from the doctors office.
    – Tanque
    Aug 9 at 13:50
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    Actually looking into it, the appointment thing seems to vary at the Landkreis level -- it's even different between the Kreisfreie Stadt Regensburg (where I live) and the Landkreis Regensburg (which surrounds it)... Aug 9 at 15:12
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    Therefore checking with the local Gesundheitsamt should be the best approach in this regard imho. They should be able to provide assistance even if you only speak english - the only hassle might be some automated phone assistant at the beginning.
    – Tanque
    Aug 10 at 11:43

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