GERMANY’S worst Covid rule breakers will be held in detention centres under new proposals being drawn up by a number of state governments.
The move forms part of the country’s efforts to stop the spread of the more contagious mutant strain of the virus detected in the UK last month.
In the eastern state of Saxony, people who ignore lockdown measures will be held in a cordoned-off part of a refugee camp being built next week.
State authorities have said the centre will only be used for those who repeatedly breach self-isolation requirements.
A similar scheme will be used in neighbouring Brandenburg, while in northerly Schleswig-Holstein rule breakers will be held in a part of a juvenile detention centre.
The southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg will reportedly use rooms in hospitals.
The country’s regional governments have powers to hold people who flout lockdown requirements under the Disease Protection Act, first passed by the federal parliament in March, Die Welt repots.
Germany won praise for its early handling of the pandemic, though has seen cases rise in recent months.
It is now seeing around 18,000 people test positive a day, and has so far recorded 47,440 deaths.
The government is also keen to avoid the spread of a mutant strain of the virus first detected in Britain in December.
The strain is thought to be up to 70 per cent more contagious than the original, and to be a contributing factor to a recent surge in cases in the UK.
Officials have expressed concern that more people continue to mix and use public transport than they did during the first lockdown in spring.
Markus Söder, head of state of Bavaria, has said the country must start taking the “worrying” mutant strain “extremely seriously”.
“The… rules that we have may be clearly too few,” he said, adding that the variant could “quickly jeopardise all efforts of the past few weeks”.
Current lockdown measures are due to expire on January 31, but Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to have told a working group of members of her Christian Democratic Union party that the country still needs “eight to 10 weeks of hard measures”.