Travelers who have continuously breach entry requirements into Germany may be placed in temporary accommodation in some states.
A post on Facebook states that Germany is planning to force people who refuse to quarantine "into camps." The post features an image of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the background.
The statement echos headlines in the New York Post and the Daily Telegraph, which also claim that travelers will be "forced" into detention centers and refugee camps.
While there are some restrictions in place for travelers who repeatedly break rules on quarantine, the articles use sensationalist, misleading language, and omit context on the nature of the restrictions. In fact, no such specific plans have been enforced. Furthermore, COVID-19 laws vary from state to state in Germany, and such measures would only be introduced for repeat offenders following warnings and fines.
The report first appeared on the German news site the Welt Report, which is of mixed credibility. The plans to move those who break quarantine rules in separate accommodation have not been enforced by Germany as a whole, as the posts incorrectly suggest.
The plans also appear to be anecdotal. The Welt Report article references spokespeople for Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein, Brandenburg, and Saxony, all of whom claim that they want to or are planning to build or open facilities for travelers who break quarantine rules. They state that fines and police warnings would be issued before such measures are considered.
The laws have been permitted under the Infection Disease Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz, (IfSG), which was renewed in March 2021. The legal firm Gibson Dunn notes that states have been granted specific powers to curtail the spread of COVID-19. It notes that those who do not comply to IfSG face an "administrative fine, a criminal fine, or even imprisonment."
Under the current guidance, The German Federal Foreign Office website states that anyone who is in a "high risk area or area of variant of concern" in the last 10 days must go straight to their destination and self-isolate for 14 days. Those who do not quarantine face a fine of up to 25,000 euros. It does not specifically mention detention centers or other accommodation for rule-breakers but informs travelers that they should check local and state guidelines.
In July 2021, Germany announced it had lifted quarantine rules for travelers from the U.K., Russia, Nepal, and Portugal, who were previously under stringent rules due to fears of the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. According to the BBC, visitors from these areas who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine. Non-vaccinated individuals will be required to quarantine for 10 days, with the option to end their quarantine on the fifth day if they receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
There are no reports of travelers who break quarantine being forced into camps. Plans mentioned in the initial reports are anecdotal, vary from state to state, and are only being considered for those who repeatedly breach rules on quarantine. The claim is both false and misleading.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.