Berlin · The next Corona relaxations: If you are infected, you no longer have to isolate yourself at home for as long as before. However, a final safety check is still strongly recommended.
In future, the prescribed isolation for people infected with Corona can usually end after only five days - with a "strongly recommended" negative test at the end. This is provided for in new guidelines published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Monday evening.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach affirmed that isolation should continue to be ordered by the health authorities. In future, contact persons of infected persons are still to be strongly advised to reduce contacts for five days. So far, isolation usually lasts ten days and can be ended prematurely with a negative test after seven days.
The concrete regulations following the recommendation will be determined by the Länder. Lauterbach made it clear that most are likely to implement this line. Several Länder have already announced new regulations. Overall, the minister spoke of a "solution with a sense of proportion". Based on shorter disease courses of the current Omikron variant BA.2, isolation could be shortened to five days.
Isolation remains without test
The order by the health authorities, which is still planned, would give the signal that Corona is not a flu or a cold. If someone infected approaches people, "then he de facto endangers their lives", said Lauterbach. At the beginning of April, the SPD politician had withdrawn an initially announced end to compulsory isolation.
According to the recommendation, contact persons of infected persons, for example in the household or in schools, should only be strongly advised to reduce contacts independently - especially with groups at risk of a severe course of corona. In addition, there should be an urgent recommendation for daily testing or self-testing with rapid antigen tests.
In view of the high number of new infections over the last few weeks, the health authorities in some places are no longer able to keep up with the orders - and official letters are sometimes sent with long delays.
According to the new recommendation, infected persons who have tested positive should be strongly advised to test themselves repeatedly with rapid tests starting on the fifth day - until the test is negative. If one cannot test negative on the fifth day, the ordered isolation continues beyond the fifth day, Lauterbach explained.
Head of SHI Physicians for Further Relaxations
For employees in health care and nursing, the final free testing should be obligatory and not only recommended. According to the recommendation, the prerequisite for resuming work is to be symptom-free for 48 hours beforehand - as well as a negative rapid test from the testing centre or a PCR test taken on day five at the earliest.
The German Foundation for Patient Protection criticised the regulations. "There must be no free testing of medical and nursing staff, including through citizen tests," said board member Eugen Brysch to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Millions of people in the vulnerable group, who usually lived at home, needed protection and security. "They must only be cared for by non-infectious people. A rapid test cannot guarantee that." Therefore, he said, a PCR free test is necessary for everyone with contact to people in need of care and the sick.
The head of the Federal Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Andreas Gassen, spoke out in favour of more far-reaching relaxations. After five days of isolation, people should be able to go back to work without additional free testing - "also in nursing homes and clinics", he told the "Rheinische Post" (Tuesday). (Original text: dpa / Translation: Mareike Graepel)