A "Covid jail" has been opened in Germany for people who repeatedly break quarantine rules.
The facility in Neumünster, in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, launched in January and sees inmates1 locked up to ensure they self-isolate2, with 40 retired3 police officers volunteering as guards.
The prison is made up of six cells in the unused annexe of a young offenders4 centre surrounded by barbed wire fencing on the outskirts5 of the small northern town.
To be sent to the facility, a person must be refusing to properly isolate after travelling, being exposed to a high-risk contact or having received a positive test result. But the local authority has insisted people will only be locked up as a "last resort".
Inmates are allowed televisions, laptops and mobile phones, and the rooms contain a comfortable bed, while psychological support is also available.
"The isolation6 of suspected infected people in their own homes is an essential element in getting the infection rate under control," S?nke Schulz, of the local district council, told reporters in January, reports Deutsche Welles.
"Anyone who does not comply with this is putting other people at risk.
"It should not really be any different from quarantining at home," Schulz added.
He pointed7 out that by the time the evidence-gathering, fine and court order have been issued, there may only be a couple of days left of the 14 required to spend at the guarded accommodation.
Mr Schulz said no one will be required to stay there longer than their normal quarantine period.