In a joint letter, the states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, and Schleswig-Holstein called on Health Minister Karl Lauterbach to drop the isolation requirement for people who get a Covid infection in Germany.
Baden-Württemberg health minister Manne Lucha, of the Greens, said there should be a move towards people taking personal responsibility rather than the state ordering an isolation period, reported the Tagesschau.
“We should gradually get into the mode of treating a corona infection like any other infectious disease where the rule is: if you are sick, stay at home,” said the Green politician.
The rules on isolation differ slightly from state to state in Germany, but the general requirement is that people who test positive for Covid have to go into isolation at home and avoid all contact with people outside the household. The isolation period lasts at least five days or a maximum of 10 days.
In some states, and for hospital and care workers, a negative test is required to end the isolation period early.
Several politicians – as well as Andreas Gassen, chairman of the board of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, have previously spoken out in favour of ending all Covid isolation and quarantine obligations.
The four German states called on Lauterbach, of the Social Democrats, to change the rules by October 10th.
In their letter, they refer to Austria, where the isolation obligation has been replaced by so-called “traffic restrictions” since August 1st.
Under these rules, people who get Covid-19 have to wear an FFP2 mask for 10 days in most places, and they are not allowed to visit nursing homes and clinics. They can, however, go to their workplace.
“The end of mandatory isolation has not led to any relevant increase in reported cases in Austria,” the four German health ministers said in their letter.
They argued that much of the population in Germany is immunised, either through vaccination or infection.
However, Lauterbach has so far rejected calls to get rid of the isolation requirement. He said that due to Covid cases rising, he didn’t want to “add fuel to the fire” and increase the risk of infections occurring in companies or at gatherings.
Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU), said he was worried about lots of people having to take time off work to isolate at the same time, which could put pressure on critical infrastructure.
Schleswig-Holstein’s health minister Kerstin von der Decken (CDU), said the adjustment of the isolation rules would be “a step on the way back to normality.”