German government changes Covid quarantine rules

A window on a residential building in Lower Bavaria. 
A window on a residential building in Lower Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Armin Weigel
In their meeting on Friday, federal and state governments have agreed to shorten quarantine times for those in contact with someone infected with Covid - or those who have been infected themselves.

In their summit to discuss new Covid measures in the face of the Omicron variant, the German state leaders and the federal government have agreed to shorten quarantine periods for Covid patients and contacts. 

Currently, people who are infected with Covid have to self-isolate for up to 14 days, depending on which variant they are infected with.

In the case of Omicron, people with a suspected infection must quarantine for the two full weeks, with no option to shorten it.

But amid fears that an Omicron wave could lead to staff shortages in critical infrastructure, ministers agreed on Friday that people should be allowed to end quarantine on the seventh day with a negative PCR or antigen test. 

In a further liberalisation of the rules, people who have received their booster jab will no longer be required to quarantine if they are a contact person of someone who has tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What are the current Covid rules in Germany around quarantine?

Previously, there were no exceptions to the quarantine obligation for Omicron contacts. 

Double-vaccinated or recovered contacts, meanwhile, will only have to remain in quarantine for 10 – instead of 14 – days. Like those who have had Covid, they can be also be released from isolation after seven days if they present a negative PCR or a high-quality antigen test. 

Staff in hospitals, nursing homes, and institutional care facilities may be released from quarantine or isolation after five days with mandatory PCR testing.

For students and children in child care services, Omicron-contact quarantine may be terminated after five days with a negative PCR test or with antigen testing, as they are tested regularly. 


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