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Quarantine and Isolation

The spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in Germany should be slowed down as much as possible and cases of illness should be prevented. For this it is necessary to identify the contact persons of persons who tested positive. Depending on the risk of infection, which is assessed in the individual case by the health department, the state of health of a person who has had contact with an infected person should be observed for 14 days. Close contact persons, d. H. Contact persons with an increased risk of infection must go into quarantine at home (see also the questions "What is isolation and what is quarantine?" and "What is the purpose of quarantine or domestic isolation?“).

Once a person is identified as a close contact, they should be tested as soon as possible, with a PCR test if possible. Alternatively, an antigen test can be carried out on contact persons without symptoms.

If symptoms occur during the quarantine, the health department must be informed immediately and a check for SARS-CoV-2 must be carried out. In addition, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) advises that an antigen test should be carried out on the contact person twice a week for early detection of the risk of infection and finally on the 14th day of quarantine. If the result of the antigen test is positive, the health department should be informed and the result should be confirmed by a PCR test. If the result is positive, the contact person becomes a case that is included in the statistics at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). In this situation, all necessary measures that should also be taken for any other infection with SARS-CoV-2 should be implemented. This also includes immediate isolation.

A negative result of any test during the quarantine does not cancel the health surveillance and does not replace or shorten the quarantine.

If the contact person has previously been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus himself, no quarantine is required if contact with the infected person took place within six months of the previous SARS-CoV-2 infection being detected. If an infection with one of the worrying SARS-CoV-2 variants, with the exception of variant B.1.1.7, is suspected, a new quarantine is always recommended, regardless of the time interval to the previous SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The responsible health department is responsible for identifying and observing the contact persons. In general, however, citizens are advised to keep track of their own contacts so that everyone is always able to track their own contacts over the last 14 days. The health department also determines the specific procedure for contact persons in individual cases.

Further information on this topic is available on the topic page "What to do if you suspect an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus?" And the topic page "Rules and recommendations for quarantine at home".

Status: April 19, 2021 (# 4409)

The aim of isolation or quarantine is to prevent the spread of a pathogen (e.g. SARS-CoV-2) by reducing contact with other people.

Isolation is an officially ordered measure for sick people with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Depending on the severity of the illness, this can be done both at home (see also the topic page on quarantine at home) and in the hospital. Discharge from isolation takes place according to established criteria. Usually this is the case when it can be assumed that the person is no longer contagious.

The quarantine is a temporary separation of people who are suspected of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus or of people who may be able to spread the virus. These are mostly contact persons for sick people as well as travelers returning from risk areas. The quarantine can be ordered by the authorities or it can be voluntary (see also the information sheet for quarantine at home).

Status: 07.09.2020 (# 4320)

The aim is to slow down the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in Germany as much as possible and to prevent cases of illness as far as possible. If a person tests positive for SARS-CoV-2, it is necessary to identify the people who have had contact with that person. The state of health of these people is then monitored on the basis of the individual risk of infection for the maximum period of time between infection and the onset of symptoms (14 days). People who have had close contact with the person who tested positive have to be quarantined at home.

The responsible health department is responsible for identifying and observing these so-called contact persons. The health department also determines the specific procedure in each individual case. Isolating the sick and tracking contact persons has been a central pillar of the control strategy since the beginning of the Corona events in Germany.

The Robert Koch Institute gives recommendations for the management of contact persons, which can be adapted to the local situation by the responsible health department taking into account the desired protection goals.

Status: 03.06.2020 (# 3788)

Anyone who has a high Is at risk of being infected. Otherwise, the person concerned could contribute to the spread of the pathogen.

If at least one of the following situations exists, there is an increased risk of infection and you are classified as a close contact:

  1. If you have had close contact (less than 1.5 meters) with an infected person for more than 10 minutes without adequate protection. Adequate protection includes the continuous and correct wearing of a medical mouth and nose mask (surgical mask) or an FFP2 mask for everyone involved.

  2. If you have had a conversation with an infected person without adequate protection, i.e. had face-to-face contact less than 1.5 meters away, regardless of the length of the conversation, or came into contact with secretions from the respiratory tract of the infected person Person, e.g. B. by coughing or sneezing. Adequate protection includes the continuous and correct wearing of a medical mouth and nose mask (surgical mask) or an FFP2 mask for everyone involved.

  3. If you were in a room with an infected person at the same time and for more than 10 minutes, where there was likely to be a high concentration of infectious aerosols. The distance from one another and wearing a face mask or an FFP2 mask are not decisive.

The situations listed (1., 2. and 3.) must be distinguished from the wearing of FFP2 masks in the healthcare sector by trained medical staff.

The responsible health department is responsible for assessing the risk of infection and thus ordering and lifting the quarantine.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends domestic isolation (quarantine) for 14 days for close contact persons - calculated from the last day of contact with a person who was contagious at the time. A test of the close contact persons serves the early detection of asymptomatic infections that are not accompanied by symptoms.

An antigen test should be carried out on the 14th day before the quarantine is ended. The quarantine should only be lifted in the event of a negative test result and if there are no symptoms of the disease. If symptoms occur during the quarantine, the responsible health department must be informed and an investigation must be carried out.

The question "What to do after contact with a person suffering from COVID-19?"As well as the topic pages" What to do if you suspect an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus? "And" Rules and recommendations for quarantine at home ".

Even when entering Germany from a risk area, there is an obligation to quarantine at home.

Status: April 19, 2021 (# 4155)

In people who have demonstrably had a SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by a PCR test and who have recovered, it is assumed, according to the current state of knowledge, that they are at least partially immune. However, a renewed infection and the associated risk of transmission to other people cannot be completely ruled out. Therefore, even as a recovered person, continue to adhere to the AHA + L formula and the current recommended protective measures.

If you have already been through a SARS-CoV-2 infection and become a close contact person, a quarantine will be ordered if your infection was more than six months ago.

Recovered persons who have close contact with unvaccinated risk groups either professionally or privately (e.g. because they work in a nursing home or care for older family members) should, if possible, continue their professional activity or their private dealings with risk groups for 14 days after stop last contact with an infected person, even if their own infection occurred within the last six months.

If there is a suspicion that the person with whom one has come into contact as a recovered person has an infection with one of the worrying SARS-CoV-2 variants, except for variant B.1.1.7, a new quarantine is always necessary recommended, regardless of the time interval to your own previous SARS-CoV-2 infection.

If symptoms occur after contact with the infected person, one must go into self-isolation and arrange for a prompt test, regardless of how long ago the last infection was. If the test result is positive, the same measures apply as for the first infection (see also the topic page "What to do if you suspect an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus?"And question"How can I protect myself and others from infection with the AHA formula?“).

Status: 04/21/2021 (# 4499)

If infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is confirmed, isolation will be ordered by the authorities. Depending on the severity of the disease, it can be done at home or as an inpatient (information on the terms isolation and quarantine is provided by the question "What is isolation and what is quarantine?").

When people with COVID-19 are cared for at home, the following hygiene measures should be observed:

  • The sick person should be accommodated alone in a well-ventilated single room.
  • The number of contacts with other people should be reduced to the absolute minimum, i. H. to household members whose accommodation is not otherwise possible or who are required for support.
  • Household members should be in other rooms. If this is not possible, a distance of at least 1.5 to 2 meters should be maintained. In addition, sick people and household members should wear mouth and nose protection.
  • Common rooms should be used as little as possible and ideally at different times. Meals should also not be taken together.
  • Ventilate regularly, especially rooms that are used by several people, such as the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Contact with people outside the household should be avoided. Deliveries should be placed in front of the house or apartment entrance.
  • The rules of coughing and sneezing should be followed consistently. This includes using a handkerchief when coughing and sneezing or holding the crook of your arm in front of your mouth and nose and turning away from others. Don't forget to wash your hands afterwards!
  • Handkerchiefs and other sick people's waste should be kept in a bin lined with a trash bag in the hospital room until they are disposed of with household waste.
  • Sick people and household members should especially Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet and whenever soiling is visible.
  • Sick people should also wash their hands before coming into contact with other people.
  • Good hand hygiene is also important for household members after coming into contact with a sick person or their immediate surroundings.
  • If possible, disposable towels should be used to dry hands.
  • If cloth towels are used, healthy and sick people should not use them together. Damp towels should be replaced.
  • If the hands are not visibly soiled, a skin-friendly alcohol-based hand disinfectant that is labeled at least "limited virucidal" can be used as an alternative to hand washing. The safety instructions for the hand disinfectant must be observed.
  • Frequently touched surfaces (e.g. bedside tables, bed frames and other bedroom furniture, door handles, light switches, smartphones as well as bathroom and toilet surfaces) should be cleaned daily with a household cleaning agent and, if necessary, with a surface disinfectant. Which disinfection measures are to be carried out must be discussed with the responsible health department (https://tools.rki.de/PLZTool/) or the attending doctor (see also the question "Should I use disinfectants at home?“).
  • The sick person's laundry should be collected in a separate laundry bag and should not be shaken. The rest of the household should also avoid direct contact with this person's skin and clothing. The laundry should be washed at at least 60 ° C with a normal household detergent and dried thoroughly.

In addition, the recommendations of the attending physician or the health department must be observed.

Household members of people with a confirmed disease of COVID-19 are considered to be close contacts and are under quarantine at home.

Information on isolation at home in the case of confirmed disease of COVID-19 for those affected and their relatives is summarized in a leaflet from the Robert Koch Institute. Information on the requirements and recommendations for outpatient care for sick people can also be found on the website of the Robert Koch Institute.

You can find detailed information about domestic isolation on the topic page "Corona infection - what's next?" and information about quarantine at home on the topic "Rules and recommendations for quarantine at home" and in a leaflet.

Status: 04/15/2021 (# 4272)

Anyone who has a high risk of being infected must be in quarantine (see also the question: "Who has to be in quarantine for how long?It can happen that a whole family has to be quarantined, but it is also possible that only one child is subject to the quarantine obligation.

Regardless of whether the whole family or just one person is in quarantine, all household members should take important hygiene measures to prevent or contain the spread of the pathogen. This also includes staying in different rooms or using them at different times, keeping your distance and avoiding physical contact (you can also find out more on the topic “Rules and recommendations for quarantine at home”).

It is recommended that household members of people who are in quarantine move to a volunteer Quarantine to prevent them from spreading the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus unnoticed. It is recommended that you leave your home as little as possible, use existing home office options, go shopping as little as possible and do not meet anyone outside your own household.

However, especially when children are affected by quarantine measures, it is important to proceed proportionately and with a sense of proportion, because quarantine at home is a particularly great challenge for children. For example, the distance rules cannot always be consistently implemented, since children who are in quarantine, need the care and attention of their parents or other family members. Attempts should be made to comply with the hygiene rules as much as possible and to find individual solutions for the situation. It is important that the measures are child-friendly and realistic.

In this case, too, the responsible health department is the point of contact for questions about quarantine.

On the kindergesundheit-info.de portal, the BZgA also offers useful information on how to organize everyday family life in times of corona.

The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief also offers tips for parents about COVID-19.

Status: October 20, 2020 (# 4313)

The responsible health department decides when a home quarantine can be ended.

If an infection is suspected, the persons concerned must go into quarantine at home for 14 days.The calculation starts from the first day after the last day of contact with the person infected with the coronavirus. In the quarantine for household members of a person infected with the coronavirus, counting starts from the day on which the infected person first develops symptoms.

Exceptions to the quarantine obligations apply to vaccinated and convalescent people under certain conditions.

During the quarantine - if possible - antigen tests should be carried out twice a week and also on the 14th day before the end of the quarantine. If the antigen test is positive, the health department must be informed promptly and the result must be confirmed with a PCR test.

For people who live in a household with people suffering from COVID-19, it is recommended that contacts be restricted up to day 20. Even after the quarantine, attention should be paid to possible signs of illness for another week.

Due to the meanwhile prevailing spread of the worrying SARS-CoV-2 virus variant B.1.1.7, the isolation period is 14 days for people who are isolated at home because of COVID-19. In addition, a final test using an antigen test is recommended before the isolation is removed.

For people with a weakened immune system (immunosuppressed people), for medical staff and for residents of geriatric care facilities, special regulations apply (see "COVID-19: Release criteria from isolation" on the website of the Robert Koch Institute).

The decision as to whether a person can leave home quarantine or home isolation is made by the responsible health department in coordination with the medical care provider.

Further information on quarantine at home can be found on the topic page “Rules and recommendations for quarantine at home”. The topic page "Corona infection - what's next?" Offers further information on domestic isolation.

Status: 05/11/2021 (# 4255)

On my own behalf

There are currently a large number of unanswered questions about the transmission, duration of illness and protection options against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, for which there are no sufficiently scientifically reliable data or studies due to the novelty of the pathogen. You can find the current state of knowledge in our comprehensive FAQs, which are updated regularly. Therefore, please use our FAQs for your information.

If you have any further questions, please contact infektionsschutz (at) bzga.de.

Please note that the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) is not a clinical institution. That is why we do not offer any individual medical advice or recommendations on diagnoses and therapy. Many factors are important for medical advice that can only be adequately taken into account in personal contact with your doctor or the local health department.

Last update of this page: 12.05.2021