In four federal states, the isolation obligation for Corona infected persons will soon be dropped. Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Schleswig-Holstein have agreed on this, according to the Ministry of Health in Stuttgart. In these states, new regulations are to come into force "promptly", the details are currently being worked out. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) criticized the decision, saying, "This now comes at an inopportune time and does not meet with the approval of the federal government."
In Bavaria, infected people should no longer have to segregate themselves as early as next Wednesday, November 16. "It is the right time for more personal responsibility of the people," said Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU). The basis for this, he said, was a "scientific evaluation" by the state office for health and food safety and other experts. Anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus will be allowed to leave their home in the future. However, they would then have to wear a mask.
Several federal states had been pushing for some time to abolish the isolation requirement, but the federal government did not listen to them; as a result, a new uniform nationwide regulation did not come about. Since the federal states are responsible for infection control in Germany, they can also decide independently. The federal government has refused to find a common solution, Holetschek complained. "That's why, in view of the changed pandemic situation, we are now moving forward with this important step for dealing with Corona on our own responsibility."
The federal health minister spoke Friday of a mistake and warned against a "patchwork quilt" with different isolation rules in the states. "There is also no medical reason to waive the isolation requirement now," Lauterbach said. There are about 1,000 deaths from Covid-19 per week, he said, and we are facing a "probably severe winter wave" and are "on the eve of a more contagious variant." Therefore, he said, it is not really responsible to take away the isolation requirement. In particular, people should not be pressured to show up infected at work.
However, Lauterbach had also agreed in early April to stop forcibly confining Covid 19 sufferers to their homes. This was announced as an agreement between the federal and state governments, but just one day later the federal minister rescinded the decision - on a talk show and via Twitter, and much to the displeasure of his colleagues in the states. The obligation to isolate remained. However, Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) subsequently advised the states to disregard the federal recommendation and repeal it: "Go ahead, you have all the options!" That four of them are now doing so is welcomed by CDU health politician Tino Sorge: "I firmly expect that many states will follow, because we see that this feared autumn wave is not coming in this form."
The move by the four states is a paradigm shift: mandatory isolation, which most recently lasted only five to 10 days, had been a central pillar of pandemic response since the Corona outbreak. For a long time, contact persons of infected persons also had to isolate themselves, and they were referred to as quarantined. However, this was abolished in the spring.
Image by Gerd Altmann