Anyone who has contracted the coronavirus or had contact with someone infected must stay at home and keep away from other people - this has been a principle of pandemic control since the first corona cases. But that has now changed in Bavaria. Since Wednesday, April 13, contact persons are only recommended quarantine, but no longer ordered. At the same time, the isolation obligation for infected persons is reduced to five days.
An overview of the most important questions, how quarantine and isolation are now handled in Bavaria and what applies:
Who must now still be in quarantine or isolation?
Basically, all people in whom the coronavirus has been detected with a PCR test or a rapid test (such as in a pharmacy or a test center). They are obliged to stay at home - an order from the health department is not a prerequisite for this. Officially, these cases are referred to as isolation, not quarantine. Quarantine, on the other hand, was mandatory until April 12 for those who had close contact with a Covid 19 patient ("contacts") - this also applied to family members or roommates. However, this quarantine requirement no longer exists.All regulations can be found in a general decree issued by the Bavarian Ministry of Health.
What happens now with contact persons?
They are not obliged to do anything. However, the Ministry of Health asks infected persons to inform their close contacts. And they should then reduce their contacts, work in a home office if possible, and voluntarily test themselves for five days.
How long do you have to be in isolation?
Covid-19 sufferers (rapid test): those who test positive in a rapid test (such as at a doctor's office or pharmacy) are allowed back into freedom if the subsequent PCR test is negative. If one does not have a PCR test done, isolation ends when one is symptom-free for 48 hours - but after five days at the earliest and ten days at the latest.
Covid 19 sufferers (PCR test): If one has tested positive in a PCR test, isolation has generally lasted only five days since April 13. Then it ends automatically and without free testing, if one has not had any symptoms of the disease for 48 hours beforehand. If you do have symptoms, the isolation period is extended until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours. After ten days, however, it is over in any case.
What do you have to keep in mind when you are in isolation?
If you are in isolation, you have to stay in your apartment - even a walk alone in the forest is not allowed. One should not receive visitors and stay away from one's roommates, including family members, i.e. stay in one's own room if possible and do not share meals with them. There are only two exceptions when one is allowed to leave one's home: either alone to one's own garden, terrace, or balcony, or to go to a doctor or testing center because a Corona test has been ordered. Other exceptions must be approved by the health department. Those who do not comply with the regulations may be fined.
Are there rules of conduct for after isolation?
None that are mandatory. However, people are advised to "wear an FFP2 mask outside their own home - especially in closed rooms - and avoid unnecessary contact with other people" for five days afterward.
What special rules apply in homes or clinics?
There are special rules for the staff of institutions where particularly vulnerable people live or work. Anyone who has been in isolation because of a Corona infection may not return to work until they present a negative test result. This can be a rapid test or a PCR test with a Ct value of more than 30. These facilities include, for example, hospitals, nursing homes or facilities for the disabled.
What are the exceptions for the so-called critical infrastructure?
If an authority or an operation of the so-called critical infrastructure is paralyzed by too many quarantine cases, the respective municipality can release infected persons or contacts from isolation/quarantine so that they can go to work. Critical infrastructure includes, for example, water, energy and food supplies, banking and insurance, transportation and healthcare, information technology and telecommunications, media and public administration. (For an overview, see the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance page).
Does it make a difference whether it is an Omicron infection or another virus variant?
No. All regulations now apply uniformly to any corona infection.
And what about quarantine after an entry?
Anyone coming from a virus variant area must be quarantined for two weeks after entry. For him or her, free testing is not possible, and a negative PCR test is required at the end. In addition, there are the so-called high-risk areas: Anyone who has been in one of these only has to go into quarantine after entry if he or she has not been vaccinated or has recovered. It then lasts ten days, which can be shortened to five days with a negative test.However, these regulations are not currently relevant because no countries are currently designated as high-risk or virus-variant areas, as shown in the list of high-risk and virus-variant areas on the Robert Koch Institute website.
In Bavaria, the isolation of people infected with Corona is regulated by a general decree issued by the Ministry of Health, known as AV Isolation. It is currently valid until June 30, 2022.
Photo by Markus Winkler