Corona chaos in Ellwangen 04.05.2020

Tested negative but still locked up?  deutsch

From the approximately 600 asylum seekers in the LEA Ellwangen, more than 400 residents* have tested positive at least once since the curfew was imposed in the beginning of April. By the end of April / beginning of May, about 200 people who had once tested positive were released from the LEA. From the almost 200 who tested negative, none was released. Why? Will something change in the next few days after the new tests?

The Stuttgart Regional Council allegedly wants to check whether the curfew for B2-3the LEA Ellwangen can be lifted after these tests. The Regional Council is thus creating false hopes. Many will hope to be able to return to the city after a negative test. But especially those who have never tested positive will not be allowed out. Sounds crazy. Some have tested negative two, three or soon four times and feel perfectly healthy. Nevertheless, they must remain in quarantine. Of course no one will understands that! Is this yet another case of pure racial harassment against asylum seekers?

How does quarantine work outside the camp?

Let take for instance someone who does not live in the camp, but in a normal apartment. Then the health authorities request me to be quarantined since i have been in close contact with an infected person either at work, in the family or wherever as i am contact person or suspected case. In quarantine I am not allowed to leave my apartment, I am not allowed to go shopping. Girlfriends* have to put some food in front of my door. If possible, I should stay in a separate room and no one is allowed to get in there. If I do not develop any symptoms like cough or fever, I am free after two weeks. I will only have to undergo a test if I have symptoms. That’s just it and its over.  I have been quarantined to avoid me infecting someone else. Because of my exposure to and infected person, i could have been infected 

Now let’s say I’m living with someone else, like my wife. We both had to be quarantined because we both had contact with X, so we are contact persons of X. As a man and a woman, we never kept any distance from each other. After 10 days my wife gets a fever and tests positive. Then the quarantine starts again for me as contact person of my wife. Now I could have been infected by my wife, even if I was not infected by X. If my wife and I had been in quarantine separately, I would have been free after two weeks. So it became almost four weeks.

When several people live together as a group in quarantine, the quarantine period always starts again as soon as someone tested positive or even one person had contact with an infected person. The larger the group, the longer the possible quarantine period. You suspect the problem in the camp?

Does a negative test end the quarantine?

Usually people who are sent to quarantine are not tested. A test is only done when symptoms appear. But in the Ellwangen Camp, they’ve all been tested. All those who tested negative are still in quarantine for a month.

A negative test does not change the quarantine. The quarantine must still be maintained for 14 days. The reason is that even a negative test does not always rule out an infection. If there are very few viruses in the body at an early stage of infection, a test cannot detect them. A prominent example is Mrs Merkel. She had contact with an infected doctor and therefore had to be quarantined. During the quarantine period she tested negative three times. Nevertheless she remained in quarantine for 14 days. After 14 days, however, the quarantine ended because she had no new contact with infected people. In the LEA it is completely different.

Contact and quarantine in the camp

In the camp I am considered the contact person of everyone who lives in the same room. But also of all those with whom I share a bathroom or toilet. So if only one person on the floor is infected, I become a suspect and have to be quarantined. A good opportunity to get infected was also the common meal in the canteen. Because of the close living together in the camp the infection can spread quickly.

All inhabitants of the LEA Ellwangen were put into quarantine on 5 April. This protected the people outside the camp, but not the people inside the camp. Inside the camp, a huge group of several hundred people were quarantined together. In this large group, as was to be expected, the virus spread rapidly. After the first mass test at the beginning of April, 250 people were infected, the next test was 313 and finally 406 people in the camp tested positive. This means that there are still almost 200 people in the quarantine group. If even one of them tests positive again, the quarantine for all 200 must be extended again by two weeks according to the rules of the German government. And this can go on for a long time.

In contrast, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration in Baden-Württemberg recommends not to order quarantine for all LEA residents and justifies this:

If all LEA residents are quarantined for two weeks and are one more person tests positive during this period, the quarantine period is extended ALL residents again by two weeks from the time of the onset of symptoms / Date of positive test. In this case, theoretically a crowded acommodation can remain closed for several months.

Chaos in the LEA makes everything worse

In the Ellwangen camp, the quarantine group, i.e. those who tested negative, was not separated from the infected, even though the camp leader Berthold Weiß claims otherwise. Thus, every day any infected person can infect anyone from the quarantine group. This risk exists as long as the quarantine group of the negatively tested is not completely separated from the infected.

The current chaos in the LEA leads to an almost endless quarantine of the negatively tested. Those who have tested positive once can be released if after some time they no longer show symptoms or have never had symptoms. This is checked by a doctor. This is why 200 people were recently able to leave the camp. Should the current chaos continue, those who tested negative would first have to remain in quarantine until all positives could leave the camp. Just a few days before leaving the camp, an infected person could infect a person who had tested negative. After that, the quarantine would have to continue for at least two weeks. Because of the size of the quarantine group, further extensions would be likely.

Is there a way out?

Yes, there is, if you want it. People inside the camp have the same chances as people outside, if the huge quarantine group of currently 200 people is broken down into many very small quarantine groups. The above-mentioned ministry demands that only families or a maximum of three people be housed in one group. That is the only way to end the quarantine for most of them after two weeks. 

Small groups instead of camps

Small groups cannot be accommodated separately within the Camp. As long as maintaining the camp regime is prioritized over freedom, life and good health of asylum seekers, there can be no solution.

Many hotels and other housing facilities are empty because of the Corona crises. These facilities could be used to accommodate the smallest groups separately. The possibilities are there. These possibilities will not be put to use without pressure from the refugees themselves and solidarity support outside.

Rescue risk groups!

Most Corona infected people survive the infection without any major problems. However, serious, life-threatening health situation threatens the so-called risk groups. These are elderly people (over 60 years) and people with previous illnesses. Those who have tested positive and belong to one of the risk groups will be taken to the isolated accommodation in Althütte-Sechselberg according to the plans of the regional council. Those who have never tested positive will not be protected. The above mentioned ministry demands the separate accommodation of the risk groups, if necessary with the whole family. They should be accommodated in separate facilities nationwide. Should these be special camps? Why is it not immediately possible to provide unbureaucratically vacant housing, e.g. holiday apartments?


Those responsible at the Stuttgart Regional Council, the district and the city of Ellwangen continue to disregard the human rights of asylum seekers in the  Ellwangen Camp. They are not giving out honest information to the asylum seekers in the Camp. They create chaos in the camp. They prolong the quarantine unnecessarily. They are actively contributing to spreading the virus. They even ignore the recommendations of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration.

We say: Asylum seekers have the right to protect themselves and others.

We demand as immediate measures:

– Decentralized housing for risk groups, such as holiday homes.

– The formation of small quarantine groups (families or a maximum of three people) outside the LEA and their accommodation, for example in empty hotels.


About Network Refugees4Refugees

Platform for Self-organisation of Refugees
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1 Response to Corona chaos in Ellwangen 04.05.2020

  1. Pingback: Corona chaos in Ellwangen 04.05.2020 | Network Refugees4Refugees

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