Coronavirus: German quarantine refusers to be forced into detention centres

Germans who repeatedly refuse to self-isolate will soon be detained in detention centres and cordoned-off areas of refugee camps.

A report from local news outlet Welt am Sonntag revealed regional authorities' plans to force repeat quarantine refusers into forced accommodation.

The strict measures come as the country extends its national lockdown until February amid fears of new mutant strains - the more contagious UK variant was detected in Germany as early as November.

In the eastern state of Saxony, officials have confirmed quarantine rule-breakers will be held in a fenced-off section of a refugee camp set to be built next week.

Local authorities have said the centre will only be used for those who repeatedly break self-isolation rules.

Two hospital rooms in Baden-Württemberg, south-west Germany, will also be used to detain repeat offenders, and will be guarded by police.

"These segregation places will be permanently controlled by a guard service," a spokesman for the state social ministry is quoted as saying by Welt am Sonntag.

In the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, a youth detention centre is being turned into a forced quarantine facility to detain rule-breakers.

State authorities have the power to detain those who flout quarantine rules under the disease Protection Act, which was first passed by the federal parliament in March and renewed in November.

The forced admission comes in addition to fines as high as €25,000 (NZD$42,200) for breaking quarantine.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 in Germany must quarantine for two weeks. Those returning from a 'risk area' must quarantine for 10 days.

Quarantine can be shortened to five days after a negative test result is returned.