The fight against the coronavirus has affected a great many aspects of our lives and the pandemic has had an undeniably disproportionate impact on people with a migration background. We have here sources of empowering information for Africans living in Germany, ranging from practical advice on prevention, treatment and vaccination to travel protocols and specific support measures for migrant entrepreneurs.
General information on prevention and treatment
The Federal Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration runs an online portal to provide information about the coronavirus pandemic – including the decisions of the Federal Government and the Federal States – in English, French, Turkish and 17 other languages.
Information and practical advice are also provided by the association Ethno-Medical Centre (The Health Project with Migrants and for Migrants) in 14 languages, including English. The focus is on practical advice: What do you do if you have had contact with an infected person? How should one behave in quarantine? What is the best way to protect yourself?
The Handbook Germany provides information on the virus and the course of the disease in six languages including English. The site also provides information on labour law, including short-time work and home office.
Local health authorities
In Germany, the spread and containment of the virus and the rules of conduct can be different from state to state. If you would like to get information about Covid-19 in your state, look up the state government’s website.
Contact the local public health office (Gesundheitsamt) in your locality on the website (tools.rki.de/PLZTool/en-GB), where you are asked to enter your postal code and will be given the contact information of the Gesundheitsamt responsible for you.
Information on entering Germany from high-risk areas (Risikogebiet) is published by the Federal Ministry of Health in 18 languages. Travellers from high-risk areas must register online in advance and carry proof of this with them when entering the country. The form can be filled out in 13 languages.
You can find out which countries are risk regions from the Robert Koch Institute (Germany’s centre for disease control and prevention), which also provides some information on Covid-19 in English on its website.
You can find out where to get tested by calling the nationwide patients’ helpline on 116 117. When you call this number, you hear a recorded voice asking you in German to select from several options. If you stay on the line you will get through to someone and can speak English with them.
The federal health ministry’s Corona hotline number is 030 346 465 100.
Covid-19 tests are free for those who are not insured if the test is ordered by the health authorities.
Coronavirus tracing app
Everyone is encouraged to use the Federal Government’s Corona Warn App, which helps us to determine whether we have come into contact with an infected person and whether this could result in a risk of infection.
This is a tracing app which uses Bluetooth technology to detect other smartphones on which the app is active. Your data is encrypted, so no one can find out anything about you or your location.
Downloading and using the app is completely voluntary. It is available for download free of charge from the App Store and Google Play.
Vaccination against Covid-19 contributes to both individual protection and pandemic containment.
In Germany alone, more than 1.8 million people have contracted Covid-19 so far and more than 38,000 have died from it as of 15 January.
As of 12 March 2020, four vaccines, made by BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have been approved in the EU and thus in Germany for immunisation against the coronavirus.
Immunisation is being carried out at vaccination centres that have been set up by the federal states. There are also mobile vaccination teams that visit in-patient care facilities, for example.
For more information, see the website zusammengegencorona.de.
Current information on the vaccination centres and their organisation can also be found on the websites of the respective federal states.
The German Trade Union Confederation informs workers in seven languages about their rights, for example if they are dismissed.
There are links to information about health and safety issues, short-time work compensation, rights and duties to work and information for self-employed people concerning Covid-19 at the federal employment agency.
Support for migrant entrepreneurs
Germany has implemented several specific support measures for migrant entrepreneurs, including an online platform with information on available aid programs for self-employed individuals, micro and small businesses and freelancers (including cultural and creative professionals) in five languages and a network of dedicated caseworkers to support ailing migrant business in all federal states, including with respect to the filing of applications for state aid.