In the future, people infected with coronavirus who have completed their five-day isolation are to be recommended to test for COVID-19. According to Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, this is provided for in the new pandemic guidelines. However, the previously existing requirement to take the test will be removed.
Lauterbach explained that the reduction of the isolation to five days is possible due to the shorter disease course caused by the current BA.2 Omicron subvariant. So far, isolation in Germany usually takes ten days, but can end earlier, after seven days, if the coronavirus test is negative.
Testing for health care workers still mandatory
For coronavirus-infected health care workers, on the other hand, testing is to continue to be mandatory. Lauterbach also confirmed that isolation of infected persons should continue to be mandated by health authorities. The point is to emphasize that COVID-19 is not the flu or the common cold. If an infected person comes in contact with others, “it de facto puts their lives at risk,” – Lauterbach said.
It is up to the states to implement the regulations as recommended by the Robert Koch Institute and the Federal Ministry of Health.
Bavaria: “We do not foresee a general recommendation on testing”
Several states have already indicated that they have a different opinion on a general recommendation for post-isolation testing than the federal health minister. Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek told the Rheinische Post newspaper that Bavaria does not foresee a general recommendation for post-isolation testing if there are no symptoms of illness.
A shortened, five-day isolation period has already been in effect in Bavaria since mid-April. Holetschek reminded that in order to end isolation, one must be symptom-free 48 hours beforehand. Instead, Bavaria recommends wearing a mask for a certain period of time.
Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse, among others, want to do the same, Holetschek added. He also stressed that agreement had been reached on institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes. High-risk groups must continue to be protected “and it is on them that our efforts are focused,” the CSU politician noted.