Bonn More and more people are becoming infected with the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus. This also increases the number of contact persons who have to go into quarantine. Which rules apply when? Here are the most important questions and answers.
The rising number of cases in Bonn and the surrounding region means that more and more people have to go into quarantine. For example, if they have had direct contact with a person who has tested positive. Or because they themselves have tested positive for the Sars-Cov-2 virus. In Bonn there were, on Monday, according to data provided by the city council, 935 humans in domestic quarantine. Often the uncertainty is overwhelming. How long and from when onwards does the quarantine apply? What exceptions are there? Can the quarantine period be shortened? We have the answers to the most important questions:
When is quarantine compulsory even without an official order?
A quarantine obligation can occur automatically, even without it having been previously ordered by the responsible health authority. According to the NRW Ministry of Health, persons affected by this must go into quarantine immediately and on their own responsibility. This applies in the following cases:
- for those tested whose PCR test for Sars-Cov-2 has turned out positive
- for people who live in the same household as a person who has tested positive
- for people who are being tested by PCR test because they have symptoms of disease or because they have received a positive Corona rapid test. In that case, the quarantine applies at least until the test result is available. If the PCR test is positive, the affected persons must remain in quarantine beyond that time. For citizens from Bonn, the municipal health office is the responsible authority.
Do I have to stay in quarantine if I had close contact with an infected person?
This is decided by the public health department. In such a case, the Robert Koch Institute recommends voluntarily going into quarantine as soon as possible and waiting for the instructions of the health office. However, it is the public health department that ultimately decides whether quarantine is mandatory. It decides whether contact persons are classified as KP1 - i.e. first-degree contact persons. As a rule of thumb, people who have had at least 15 minutes of close contact with an infected person without an everyday mask, or who have been sitting in a poorly ventilated room with an infected person for an extended period of time without an FFP2 mask on either person, must generally be quarantined. The quarantine is also valid when the authorities order it verbally - even if the written order is issued later.
How long is the quarantine obligation valid?
Contact persons must be quarantined for 14 days. The health department determines the day from which the 14 days apply. As a rule, this is the day on which the affected person last had contact with the infected person. If this contact was seven days ago, for example, the quarantine can last another seven days. For infected persons, the quarantine period begins on the first day after testing, although they must go into quarantine immediately. Those who go into quarantine to wait for the results of a PCR test may end the quarantine immediately if the result is negative.
What applies to people who test positive?
Anyone confirmed to be infected with Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus must go into isolation. The automatic quarantine will then end no earlier than ten days after testing if the person remains asymptomatic. If symptoms are present, the automatic quarantine will extend until there are no more signs of the disease for 48 hours. Anyone who develops symptoms of illness during quarantine should report to the health department.
What applies to returning to NRW?
Persons entering the state of North Rhine-Westphalia by land, sea or air who have been in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in Ireland or in the Republic of South Africa at any time during the ten days preceding entry are obliged to, immediately after entry, to go directly to their main or secondary residence or to other accommodation permitting seclusion, and to remain permanently secluded there for a period of ten days from the date of their departure from the territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ireland or the Republic of South Africa; This also applies to persons who have initially entered another state of the Federal Republic of Germany. During this period, the people who returned from the UK and NI as well as Ireland and South Africa are not permitted to receive visitors who do not belong to their household. This all also applies for people who entered NRW since Dec 11, 2020.
Everybody arriving from the forementioned countries is obliged to immediately contact the lower health authority responsible for them and to inform it about their origin off travel, the date of entry and their current place of residence – unless they have completed the digital entry application which is available at https://www.einreiseanmeldung.de.
People who arrive to NRW from the UK and NI, Ireland and South Africa are obliged to present a negative test certificate (entry testing) to the lower health authority within 48 hours after entry and shall have a new test carried out five days after entry.
Should typical symptoms of infection with the corona virus SARS CoV-2, such as cough, fever, rhinitis or loss of sense of smell and taste, occur within ten days of entry, the people from the aforementioned countries must consult a physician or a test center for a further test.
The testing obligations under the above regulations do not apply to children under 6 years of age.
Can the quarantine be shortened or avoided?
For people arriving in NRW from UK and NI, Ireland and South Africa: If the result of the second test (after five days) is negative, the quarantine may end upon receipt of the test result (voluntary testing), otherwise the obligation to segregate shall continue and the competent authorities may decide on the individual ordering of a further test in each case.
The obligation to quarantine does not apply to persons who enter the State of North Rhine-Westphalia only for transit purposes. These persons must leave the territory of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia by the quickest route in order to complete their transit. These persons must also comply with the testing requirement upon entry.
Health departments can shorten a quarantine of people who were not returning from a risk region if a PCR or rapid test performed ten days after the start of the quarantine is negative. However, a test performed before the tenth day does not shorten the quarantine. If the rapid test is positive after ten days, the quarantine cannot be shortened. If the PCR test is positive, the quarantine is extended by another ten days.
Can contact persons be tested free of charge?
In consultation with the health authorities or a practicing physician, symptomless first-degree contact persons can have a free PCR test done to shorten their quarantine period.
Are there any exceptions to quarantine?
According to the current quarantine regulations, anyone who is in quarantine may only leave it if the competent authority grants an exception - for example, to have a PCR test done. Anyone who needs to see a doctor must also report this to the health authority. The quarantine obligation does not apply if it is absolutely necessary to leave one's own home to protect life and limb, for example in the event of a house fire or a medical emergency.
Local authorities may also make exceptions for critical infrastructure personnel, such as doctors and nurses. However, employees must not show any symptoms of illness and the responsible establishment must provide increased protection against infection. It is also a prerequisite that the facility has exhausted its staffing options and that the affected personnel cannot be replaced by reassignment or short-term training.
Do I have to go into quarantine if the Corona Warning app warns me?
A warning from the Corona Warning app is not considered an automatic quarantine requirement. However, anyone who is warned of an increased risk with a message highlighted in red will receive a recommendation for action from the app. It is then recommended to go home, stay there for the time being and contact the family doctor, the on-call „Kassenärztlichen Bereitschaftsdienst“ (telephone number: 116117) or the responsible health office. In addition, contact with other people should be avoided, including people from your own household.
What rules apply during quarantine?
Anyone in quarantine is not allowed to leave their own apartment, house or accommodation. This lasts for the duration of the quarantine, not even to go shopping or to walk the dog. In apartment buildings it is also not allowed to go to the basement or to the mailbox. Other people who are not in quarantine must take care of this. Contact with other people outside the accommodation must be strictly avoided. Contact with other people within your own accommodation who are not in quarantine is only allowed in exceptional cases, such as when children or senior citizens cannot be looked after in any other way. Hygiene rules such as wearing a daily mask, washing hands and sufficient ventilation of the rooms must be observed. People may only leave their homes for a Corona test or doctor's appointments if the relevant authorities have been informed in advance. The authorities may also issue individual orders during the quarantine period.
Can I go into the garden or onto the balcony during quarantine?
Yes, you are allowed to go to your own garden, balcony or terrace - but not to meet other people there.