A coronavirus “superspreader” who went on a pub crawl despite being told to self-isolate has been blamed for an outbreak of almost 40 cases, say officials.
The “careless” 26-year-old American woman, who works at a hotel for US soldiers and their families in the German Alps, came down with “clear” Covid-19 symptoms after returning from a trip to Greece, it is said.
After suffering from a sore throat, she was tested for the virus and told to quarantine for 14 days while awaiting the result, but she “ignored” the order and went out partying the next night with colleagues, said officials in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
She visited a number of bars and restaurants in Garmisch, including a karaoke night, and was told the following morning that she had tested positive for coronavirus. She is now alleged to be responsible for a wave of infections that has sent the town back into a partial lockdown with tougher restrictions, including a 10pm curfew for restaurants.
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The Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, where the woman works, is closed for two weeks after several workers tested positive for the virus, and the 26-year-old could now face a significant fine. The hotel hosted a conference at the end of last week, it is reported.
Bavarian state officials blamed the 26-year-old American woman after 37 new cases of coronavirus were detected in Garmisch-Partenkirschen, near Germany’s border with Austria, in one day.
At least 24 people at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort are infected, Der Tagesspieggel reported.
Local administrator Anton Speer told Bild: “She infected at least 22 Americans. It is a Herculean task to trace all of the contacts.”
He added: “I’m upset with the young woman. Despite her symptoms and the quarantine, she went on a night out.”
Ian O’Hagan, the owner of an Irish bar visited by the woman, was furious, saying:“This is a disaster. We fought so hard and implemented stricter hygiene measures.”
As of Sunday there were 59 active cases of coronavius in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. New restrictions include a mandatory 10pm closing time for restaurants and a ban on public gatherings of more than five people.
Markus Söder, president of Bavaria, told reporters the outbreak shows how much “carelessness and irrationality endanger others”.
“A very high fine” could be levied against the woman, he added.
The current penalty for ignoring the quarantine is €2,000 (£1,840).
Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the woman was “reckless” and officials should make an example out of her to send a message to others who find themselves in quarantine.
The resort’s seven-day rolling rate of new infections is now 54 per 100,000 people.
Officials said the hotel worker was ordered to self-isolate for two weeks when she was tested for Covid-19 on September 7.
But she went out on the night of September 8, with stops at an Irish pub and a cocktail bar that was hosting a karaoke night. She was told the following morning that her test result was positive for coronavirus, Bild reported.
This started a wave of infections in the resort, said officials.
Stephan Scharf, a spokesman for the resort, said: “The woman had symptoms and went to a testing station, and she was told to remain in quarantine because of her symptoms.
“But she didn’t do that. We don’t know where she caught it.”
He said an investigation and contact tracing were underway. It was unknown whether the woman caught the virus in the Alpine resort or during her trip to Greece. She returned at the end of August.
Officials have told all young people aged between 18 and 35 who were in bars on Tuesday and in the days before to take a coronavirus test.
So far, 700 people have been tested.
Located about 50 miles south-west of Munich, the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort is owned by the US Department of Defence and used exclusively by service members and their families.
The US has several military sites scattered around Germany.
The hotel said in a statement: “Several staff members of the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort have tested positive for Covid-19.
“As a precaution, additional staff members who had prolonged, direct contact with the positive staff members have also been quarantined.
“The facility is working with US Army medical professionals and local medical officials to assess the situation and conduct contact tracing.
“Due to the number of staff members affected, the decision has been made to close the resort for two weeks beginning Monday, September 14.
“The health, safety and welfare of the resorts guests, staff and the surrounding community are a top priority for the organisation.
“Military leaders are keeping local organisations and host nation officials informed.
“Anyone who has visited the resort since September 3 should monitor for any symptoms and seek medical care if symptoms develop.”
Mirror Online has contacted the 26-year-old woman via Facebook. She has not responded to a message seeking comment.
The profile was active on Monday morning, but in the afternoon visitors were greeted by a message stating: “This content isn’t available at the moment.
“When this happens, it’s usually because the owner only shared it with a small group of people or changed who can see it, or it’s been deleted.”