After the decision of the Bundestag on Thursday evening, the Bundesrat cleared the way for new rules for quarantine and isolation in a special session on Friday morning. A week ago, the federal and state governments agreed to adapt the regulations in connection with the new omicron variant of the corona virus. The new rules basically stipulate that infected people can be released from isolation after seven days if they present a negative PCR or rapid test. Self-tests are not sufficient for the so-called free testing from isolation. There are additional requirements for employees in hospitals and nursing homes. In order to be able to leave the isolation after seven days, they must present a PCR test and must have previously shown no signs of illness for at least 48 hours. The following applies to all infected people: Without a negative test, the isolation lasts longer, it is then ten days. Close contacts who have not received a booster vaccination against the corona virus or who have not just recovered from an illness must also be in quarantine for ten days without a test, but can test themselves free after seven days with a negative PCR or rapid test. A self-test is not sufficient here either. Contact persons who work in the healthcare sector can also get out of the quarantine after seven days with a rapid test. Unlike infected people in isolation, it does not necessarily have to be a PCR test. The criterion that they must have been symptom-free for at least two days does not apply to contact persons in the healthcare system. Children and young people who are considered to be close contacts of infected people can leave the quarantine after five days if they show a negative PCR or rapid test. In principle, people who have already received a booster vaccination, as well as those who are currently doubly vaccinated and those who have recently recovered, do not have to be in quarantine. The second vaccination or the illness must then have been no more than three months in the past. The federal states must implement the new rules and have the option of issuing their own additional regulations. Against the background of the particularly contagious omicron variant of the corona virus, the federal and state governments had agreed to shorten the deadlines. This is to prevent operations in hospitals from coming to a standstill, for example, because many contact persons have to remain in quarantine for the full period – usually ten days.
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Christian Geinitz, Berlin
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“We have tried to shorten the quarantine period as much as is medically possible,” said Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) in the Bundesrat. “We want the quarantine to be as short as it can be, especially for those who work in medical fields.” One should not underestimate Omikron, warned Lauterbach. At the same time, he sees the end of the pandemic coming. There is a possibility of ending the pandemic in Germany this year, said Lauterbach. Now this possibility must be used. Not every country is able to do this. “We are privileged.”
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