Germany should get rid of forced Covid isolation, says MP

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Germany should get rid of forced Covid isolation, says MP
FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr at a party event in April. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler

FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr says that Germany should follow the example of the UK and end forced isolation for people who get Covid.


As The Local has been reporting, German states are in the process of shortening the Covid isolation requirement to a minimum of five days instead of seven. 

But Christian Dürr, of the liberal Free Democrats, said the country should end mandatory isolation, and make it voluntary instead.

Germany should follow the example of the UK, where those who test positive no longer have to go into forced isolation, FDP parliamentary group leader Dürr told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND).

"We should also lift the isolation rules in Germany in the case of a Covid infection, and rely on voluntary treatment," he said.

"Those who test positive but are symptom-free should be allowed to leave the house with a mask and distance," he added. "I am firmly convinced that people can make a decision on this issue on their own responsibility. There is no longer a need for government regulation for this."


 Up until now, in most German states people who receive a positive Covid test result have to isolate themselves for 10 days, with the chance to end it from the seventh day with a negative Covid test. 

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and German Health Ministry earlier this week presented relaxed guidelines for isolation following a Covid infection.

They stipulate that the isolation period for Covid-infected people can end after only five days. However, a negative test after this time is "strongly recommended". There are tougher guidelines for health and care staff.

KEY POINTS: Germany sets out new Covid isolation rules

States can choose to implement this rule in their own way. Many states say that people need to be symptom-free for 48 hours before they can return to their normal lives.

Back in April, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach announced that Germany would ditch mandatory isolation rules and make them voluntary. But he backtracked on this move, calling it a mistake. 

Germany is emerging through the latest Covid wave, and medical experts say there is less pressure on hospitals.

"We have 1,300 Covid patients in intensive care, the lowest number since September last year," he head of the board of the German Hospital Association, Gerald Gaß, told RND.

Due to the falling number of infections overall, the situation regarding staff absences is also easing. Nevertheless, things are not back to normal, said Gaß, 

He said that hospitals can now gradually catch up on previously postponed services. For this reason "the burden on hospital staff will therefore remain high over the summer", he said.

On Wednesday Germany reported 106,631 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period and 241 deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 591.8 infections per 100,000 residents.

On Monday, no Covid deaths were reported - but experts warned that figures were misleading due to delays in health offices submitting details. 


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