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80 million daily? The facts about Germany's COVID-19 testing numbers

Germany is one of many European countries facing a surge in Coronavirus cases.

A tweet has claimed that German health authorities can do 80 million COVID-19 tests daily, with "results in 3 hours at the most" - but is that the case?

The tweet was made by Dr Tammra Warby, with almost 5,000 likes at time of publication, and shared by many - including former ABC journalist Barrie Cassidy, who has over 210K followers.

"Hang on...I thought we were the best in the world. At everything," Cassidy tweeted, while others also claimed Australia was lagging behind.

But let's lay out the facts:

Australia v Germany

According to a chart from 'Our World in Data,' which was tweeted by the ABC's Casey Briggs, Germany is doing less than a 250,000 PCR tests every day - that's fewer than Australia.

In the past 24 hours, 93,581 tests were conducted in NSW & 66,683 were conducted in Victoria.

Germany's population is not much higher than 80 million, standing at 83.24 million as of 2020.

So per capita, Germany has far less people getting tested than Australia.

Can they do 80 million daily?

One of the key claims in the tweet says that Germany can do "80 million (tests) daily."

But according to data from Statista, a German company specialising in market and consumer data, this is what's happening:

"In the Federal Republic of Germany, in the 49th calendar week of 2021, according to a Germany-wide laboratory survey by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the daily test capacity for the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was 365,425 tests."

"Accordingly, around 87.8 million samples have been tested since the start of recording ; more than 6.85 million of them positive. However, the number of tests is not to be equated with the number of people tested."

Our World in Data claims a similar number - 7.01 million total cases.

And again, Germany's population stands at just over 83 million.


The tweet from Dr Tammra Warby also claims that Germans can get their test results "in 3 hours at the most."

That's led many to believe that she was referring to PCR tests - where results can come back fairly soon or several days later.

Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) typically see results within 20 minutes, according to the Federal Department of Health.

The Victorian Government says that results come back in 15-30 minutes, compared to PCR tests that see results in 24-48 hours.

Germany is one of many European countries right now facing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with restrictions tightened by authorities:

Indoors & outdoor gatherings will be restricted in size from Monday, while places like gyms, nightclubs and cinemas will shut in some states.

For people who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, private gatherings will be restricted to a maximum of 10 people in places that had not already introduced the rules.

For those who are unvaccinated, up to 2 from outside a household are allowed to gather, with anyone under the age of 14 excluded from the limit.

In addition, fireworks displays for New Year's Eve have been cancelled for a second year in a row, according to The Irish Times.

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