Countries are relaxing corona measures: the obligation to isolate should end

So far, people infected with corona have had to be isolated for five days. Now Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse and Schleswig-Holstein want to abolish this.

A person with a hat and FFP2 mask.

The isolation requirement for people who have tested positive is to be lifted in some federal states Photo: Jonas Walzberg/dpa

STUTTGART dpa/taz | Four federal states have agreed to abolish the obligation to isolate people infected with the corona virus. It is Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse and Schleswig-Holstein, as the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Health announced on Friday in Stuttgart. In these countries, new regulations should come into force “soon”, the details are currently being worked out.

The general obligation to isolate for people who have tested positive should therefore be lifted. “In their place, the federal states will introduce adapted, mandatory protective measures such as a limited obligation to wear masks for people who have tested positive, as well as urgent recommendations,” says the message from Stuttgart. Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) named November 16 as the date for abolishing the obligation to isolate in Bavaria.

“We are heralding a new phase in dealing with the pandemic,” said Baden-Württemberg’s Health Minister Manne Lucha (Greens). “It’s time to give people more personal responsibility again.”

According to the Stuttgart information, the federal states refer “among other things to experiences from neighboring countries such as Austria, where there have been protective measures replacing isolation since the summer of 2022”. No negative findings are known from these countries. “Declining numbers of infections, effective vaccinations, basic immunity within the population of more than 90 percent, generally no severe courses of the disease and effective antiviral drugs justify taking this step promptly from the point of view of the federal states.”

Corona numbers are falling

the Corona numbers have fallen steadily in recent weeks. According to the Robert Koch Institute, only about a third as many infections were registered on Friday as in mid-October. The number of corona patients in clinics and especially in intensive care units has recently fallen continuously.

According to the communication, the countries agreed on joint recommendations as the basis for their new regulations. These stipulate, for example, that those who have tested positive must wear a mask outside their own home – except outdoors when a minimum distance of 1.5 meters can be maintained. It is therefore also planned that medical and nursing facilities that have tested positive are not allowed to enter as visitors.

The four federal states, which have now jointly announced the lifting of the obligation to isolate, had asked Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) in a joint letter at the end of September to ensure that the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) changed its isolation recommendations for people infected with corona. Lauterbach had immediately rejected this at the time. Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann had already pointed out that the federal states can override the RKI recommendation.

The RKI recommends that the federal states order five days of isolation for infected people. An urgent recommendation is made not to end self-isolation until a (self-)test is negative. Health and care workers should also have been symptom-free 48 hours before the test was taken.

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