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Why is Bavaria so concerned about impact of 'American super spreader'?

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 14 Sep, 2020 Updated Mon 14 Sep 2020 19:14 CEST
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Bavarian authorities are calling for harsh consequences after an American resident allegedly intentionally broke quarantine rules in the Alps resort town of Garmisch-Patenkirchen, infecting several people.

The Bavarian ski resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen has become a new coronavirus hotspot after an American woman allegedly intentionally broke quarantine rules while awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test. 

By Monday, the seven-day critical number of infections had reached 59 out of 100,000, clearly over the critical mark of 50 per 100,000 residents. 

What happened?

Authorities in Bavaria believe that the outbreak was started by one so-called superspreader, a 26-year-old American woman who visited several pubs in the town of just over 27,000 people and infected several people in the process, according to DPA.

READ ALSO: US woman faces hefty fine after 'causing coronavirus outbreak in Bavaria'

According to local authorities, she already had symptoms during her pub crawl and was waiting for the results of her corona test. In Bavaria, a fine of €2,000 can be imposed for violations of quarantine regulations.

"The lady had symptoms, came to the test station and was told to stay in quarantine because of the symptoms. But she did not do so," said city spokesman Stephan Scharf. The 26-year-old had just returned from a vacation in Greece. 

The woman worked at a hotel resort for US army forces stationed in the area. She received a coronavirus test on September 8th, yet the same night went out partying while awaiting results, according to reports.

She tested positive the next morning. At least 22 US citizens based at the hotel were infected and the hotel was closed for two weeks. 

The woman has not been named publicly and it is not clear where she is now located, presumably in self-isolation.

'A model case for unreasonableness'

Bavaria's 'state premiere Markus Söder (CSU) is calling for consequences for the presumed perpetrator. 

"Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a model case for unreasonableness", said Söder on Monday after a cabinet meeting in Munich, adding that it shows how quickly coronavirus infections can spead if rules are not followed.

“This carelessness must also have consequences,” said Söder, pointing out that it would make sense to impose “high fines” on the woman and any future violators. 

Bavaria's Minister of the Interior, Joachim Herrmann (CSU), told Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation) that even tougher measures could be enforced.

He spoke of claims for damages or even negligent bodily injury. At present politicians are still discussing which punishment the young women will face for an intentional breach of quarantine rules.

Around 700 people tested for the coronavirus at the weekend

People between the ages of 18 and 35 in the town, known for being at the foot of Germany's tallest mountain (Zugspitze), were requested to take a coronavirus test. By Sunday 700 coronavirus smear tests had been conducted.

The results are still being waited upon, according to the district administrator's office. 

A free testing station, which was set up at the Alpspitz-Wellenbad, was completely booked for appointments on Monday and Tuesday, with just a few slots remaining for Wednesday. 

However, local authorities have also voiced concerns about more people becoming infected due to a limited number of testing slots. 

Further sanctions possible

If the number of positively tested people rises, the district office said it will consider further sanction measures.

Currently all restaurants in the town have to close at 10pm and large gatherings of more than 50 people inside and 100 people outside have been prohibited. 

 

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The Local 2020/09/14 19:14

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