A U.S. citizen working at a resort operated by the U.S. Army in a German town has been blamed for causing a coronavirus outbreak there.
The 26-year-old woman, who recently returned from a vacation abroad, allegedly flouted quarantine rules and went bar-hopping in the German town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen last week. She was awaiting results of a COVID-19 test after showing symptoms when she visited several pubs, German news agency DPA reported.
The woman, whose name was not revealed, later tested positive for coronavirus. Local authorities said she might have infected a number of people in the town and an investigation was launched against her for criminal negligence.
The woman worked at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, a recreation center operated by the U.S. military. So far, 24 people, including staff members, tested positive for coronavirus at the resort. In the wake of the incident, the town witnessed a sharp rise in cases, with 33 cases reported on Friday alone.
The new weekly cases in the town also rose above 50, prompting authorities to impose stricter disease control measures. Under the new rules, bars were instructed to close at 10 p.m. and no more than five people are allowed to gather in public.
The Edelweiss Lodge and Resort has been shut down for two weeks starting Monday following the outbreak. “Several staff members of the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort here have tested positive for Covid-19. The facility is working with US Army medical professionals and local medical officials to assess the situation and conduct contact tracing,” it said in a statement posted on Facebook.
It was unclear whether the woman contracted the disease during her trip or after arriving in the town. “We don’t know where she caught it,” Stephan Scharf, a spokesperson for the Garmisch-Partenkirchen District Administrator’s Office, told CNN. It was also not clear which countries the woman may have visited during her trip, but she did not visit the U.S.
A penalty of up to $2,300 can be issued for quarantine violations in the state of Bavaria, where the resort town is located. Andrea Meyer, the chief prosecutor with the state prosecutor’s office in Munich, said an investigation was launched into the case. Officials were “looking into suspected physical injury resulting from negligence,” she said Monday, DPA reported.