In Germany, a “Covid prison” has been opened for people who repeatedly violate quarantine rules.
The facility in Neumünster, Schleswig-Holstein, opened this month and sees inmates locked up to self-isolate. 40 retired police officers volunteer as guards.
The prison consists of six cells in the unused outbuilding of a center for young offenders, which is surrounded by barbed wire fences on the outskirts of the small town in the north.
To be sent to the facility, a person must refuse to properly isolate themselves after travel, be exposed to high risk contact, or have received a positive test result.
But the local authority has insisted that people be locked up only as a “last resort,” and there must be evidence that a suspect broke the quarantine home before a fine and then a court order is issued.
Inmates are allowed to use televisions, laptops, and cell phones. There is a comfortable bed in the rooms, which are located in a prison-like corridor. Psychological support is also available.
“Isolating suspicious infected people in their own four walls is an essential element in bringing the infection rate under control,” Sönke Schulz of the local council told reporters earlier this month German Welles.
“If you don’t do it, you endanger other people.
“The Infection Protection Act therefore rightly allows isolation in locked facilities as a last resort.
“It shouldn’t be any different from quarantine at home,” added Schulz.
He noted that there may be only a few days left of the 14 required to guard the guarded property before the taking of evidence, fine and court order.
Mr Schulz said no one has to stay there longer than the normal quarantine period.
Peter Schröder, the Neumünster city councilor who takes responsibility for the prison, said it was used more as a deterrent.
“We hope that the effort will set an example,” he said at a press conference over the past few weeks.
“We hope that there will be hardly any cases [of people being incarcerated in this way]. So far there haven’t been many. “
It comes after a number of high profile quarantine breakers were reported across Germany, including one person who tested positive before taking a 62 mile train to buy drugs picture .
In May last year, the rooms at Schönefeld Airport in Brandenburg housed travelers who refused to adhere to the quarantine restrictions.
According to officials, a hotel in Frankfurt in Hesse was used for a short time before it was closed due to lack of demand.
It is assumed that Berlin is considering using vacant sick rooms to accommodate restriction errors.
The German Left Party has spoken out against the Neumünster prison while a petition has been submitted.