Masks instead of isolation
In Bavaria, the obligation to isolate will no longer apply from next Wednesday (November 16th). Anyone who has tested positive for the corona virus will be allowed to leave their own apartment in the future, but must put on a mask outside, said Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU). However, the principle still applies: “If you are sick, stay at home.”
It is still unclear when the repeal will come into force in the other countries. However, it should be done soon. The details are currently being worked out, it said. What also seems clear there: The general obligation to isolate should be replaced by adapted measures such as a limited obligation to wear a mask and urgent recommendations.
Fewer specifications, more personal responsibility
The four countries justify their decision with declining infection numbers, an effective vaccination, a basic immunity within the population of more than 90 percent, very rare serious illnesses and effective antiviral drugs. “It’s time to give people more personal responsibility again,” said Baden-Württemberg’s Health Minister Manfred Lucha (Greens).
Vulnerable groups of people who could not build up sufficient immune protection would continue to be protected, according to the federal states. For example, work and entry bans for people infected with corona remained in place where vulnerable groups are located, such as on oncological wards in hospitals or in care facilities.
Countries against RKI recommendation
Regardless of this, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) still recommends ordering five days of isolation for infected people. The RKI also recommends only ending self-isolation if a (self-)test is negative.
Criticism from Minister of Health Lauterbach
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) has criticized the decision. It is completely incomprehensible why the countries want to jeopardize what has been achieved so far. The decision was a mistake. “This comes at an inopportune time and does not find the approval of the federal government,” said Lauterbach. There is no medical reason to waive the obligation to isolate. One must continue to ensure that the number of cases does not increase. There are still about 1,000 deaths from Covid infection per week and the country is facing a winter wave with potentially more contagious virus variants, Lauterbach warned. In addition, people should be able to be sure that they will not become infected at work.