German states agree to reduce COVID quarantine to 5 days
Some federal states in Germany have already pressed ahead, but now the rest have agreed to fall in line: quarantine periods for people infected with coronavirus are set to be reduced to five days, while close contacts will only be “recommended” to self-isolate.
Self-isolation period to be reduced to five days across Germany
At a meeting last week, the state health ministers agreed to a uniform approach to quarantine periods in Germany. In the coming week, the Robert Koch Institute will be asked to amend its guidelines regarding the length of quarantine periods for people who test positive for coronavirus. Close contacts of positive cases, on the other hand, will only be “strongly recommended” to self-isolate.
They justified this move on the basis that the Omicron variant demonstrably causes milder courses of the disease, while the proportion of the population with immunity either through vaccination or a previous infection continues to increase.
Up until now, positive COVID cases have been required to self-isolate for up to 10 days, with the option of doing a “test to release” on day seven. Close contacts have been required to quarantine for 10 days (or seven days with a test), unless they have recently been vaccinated, recovered from coronavirus, or had a booster shot.
Government U-turned on COVID quarantines at beginning of April
At the beginning of April, the government announced that it would follow the example of other countries around the world and scrap mandatory COVID quarantine periods, only to U-turn on the move a few days later, describing it as a “mistake”.
With progress on the issue stalling in the meantime, recent weeks have seen several federal states in Germany go their own way and issue amendments to quarantine rules. Bavaria cut the minimum period to five days in mid-April, and was soon followed by Saxony. Baden-Württemberg was also recently examining a similar amendment.
Now, however, the federal republic looks set to return to uniform rules once again, as soon as the Robert Koch Institute gives its approval and updates its advice.