In order to contain the corona pandemic, nationwide measures apply. However, the individual federal states can sometimes make individual decisions.

If your own test is positive – or that of the child – it can easily lead to confusion as to whether and for how long you actually have to be in quarantine. Or in isolation? Who orders what and how can you test yourself free?

Basically, if you suspect a Covid-19 infection, you should go into quarantine. Contact with other people should be avoided.

A quarantine always takes place when you are not sure whether you have been infected or not, for example after contact with an infected person or after returning from a virus variant area. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) currently does not classify any region or state as a virus variant or high-risk area.

The risk of infecting others is greatest during the incubation period, which can be avoided by quarantine. The risk is mainly present shortly before or after the onset of symptoms, but can also exist without symptoms.

According to the RKI, the most common symptoms of corona disease are cough, fever, runny nose, loss of smell and taste, shortness of breath, muscle, joint, throat and headache pains.

If an infection has already been detected, the person must immediately go into isolation. Isolation at home is sufficient if hospitalization is not necessary.

Fully vaccinated people who have tested positive and have no symptoms must also isolate themselves. Rapid antigen tests and PCR tests are accepted as tests. In general, isolation lasts at least five days.

The RKI strongly recommends testing one more time after the fifth day before the isolation is ended.

In Berlin, some of the regulations deviate slightly from the general regulation.

As soon as an antigen self-test in a private setting is positive in the capital, the person is obliged to have the test result confirmed immediately by means of a rapid test at a certified test center. A list of the test centers that are still open can be found here.

Until the next result is available, all contacts should be avoided. If the official rapid test is negative, a PCR test must be carried out for further clarification.

If the positive rapid or self-test was carried out under supervision, you must go into quarantine immediately in this case. The positive result must then be confirmed with a free PCR test. If the PCR test result is negative, the quarantine obligation ends.

In Berlin, the obligation to isolate at home applies in any case for ten days, unless the responsible health authority decides otherwise.

After the ten days, the isolation may be left without a test. If you are symptom-free for 48 hours and have a negative corona test, the quarantine can only be ended from the fifth day at the earliest.

For employees in hospitals, nursing homes or similar facilities, the isolation can only be ended after seven days, even then only with a negative test and a symptom-free period of 48 hours. These rules were laid down in ยง6 of the Basic Protection Measures Ordinance of May 03, 2022.

During self-isolation, contact with other people, including roommates, should be avoided.

Those who have had close contact with the infected person two days before the onset of symptoms must be informed so that they can go into quarantine in case of doubt.

The isolation may be left for the purpose of free testing or for acute medical treatment. In the latter case, you should always call the practice beforehand to let them know that you are actually in isolation because of a corona infection.

Even if an infection is suspected, the further procedure should first be clarified by telephone with the doctor. The responsible health authority will then probably get in touch to discuss the next steps.

The health department always informs you via SMS and/or email about a confirmed corona infection after a PCR test. The health department does not report a positive rapid antigen test in a test center or a self-test.

But even without an order or certificate from the health department, the applicable isolation rules of the respective countries must be observed. Furthermore, both a positive rapid antigen test and a positive PCR test oblige you to isolate yourself at home immediately.

The proof of recovery is not issued by the health department. Many pharmacies are responsible for this. The laboratory result of a positive PCR test is required for this.

An overview of the Berlin pharmacies that issue the certificate can be found here. Isolation certificates are also currently only issued on the basis of a PCR test.

In the case of corona disease, the treating doctor issues a certificate of incapacity for work, which must be submitted to the employer.

If the test is positive without any symptoms or signs of illness, the responsible health authority will issue a quarantine order and the certificate of this must be submitted to the employer.

For children, the quarantine regulations in Berlin are a little different again. On May 8th, 2022, the general and regular testing obligation in the Berlin day care centers fell.

The test-to-stay approach had to give way and from now on tests will only be carried out on a case-by-case basis if there are corona cases within a daycare center or if a person has had contact with an infected person.

Symptomatic and sick children should not go to the day-care center as a matter of principle. If the child is to be taken to care despite mild cold symptoms, the parents must provide the facility with written confirmation of a negative test or carry out an event-related test on site.

If there is close contact with a corona case in the child’s private environment, then the same quarantine rules apply as for adults if the child is not tested regularly.

The test-to-stay approach still applies in Berlin schools. Here, tests are conducted at least twice a week on site and under supervision at the school. As part of the so-called serial testing, people who test positive are reported to the health department by name with their date of birth and address.

There is no further clarification via a PCR test or additional rapid test. The student will then receive confirmation of isolation.

If a school child tested positive at home with a rapid test, Section 6 of the Basic Protection Measures Ordinance also applies here and it must go to an official test center for a follow-up test. If the test is positive again, the child must go into isolation. If the test is negative, a PCR test must be performed for confirmation.

Pupils who test positive can take a quick test after five days.

The best protection against a COVID-19 infection is still the first and second vaccination as well as the booster vaccination. Furthermore, the AHA L A formula (distance, hygiene, everyday mask, ventilation, (warning) app) should be followed.