An American military worker could face prison in Germany after allegedly going on a bar crawl with coronavirus.
The accused ‘super-spreader’, identified only as Yasmin A from the US, infected at least 23 with the virus and exposed more than 710 to it.
The 26-year-old went partying in Garmisch-Partenkirchen while awaiting test results after returning from holiday in Greece with a sore throat, MailOnline reports.
Chief public prosecutor Andrea Mayer told German daily newspaper Bild: ‘We have an initial suspicion that we are now investigating.’
District office spokesperson Wolfgang Rotzsche added: ‘If the woman has actually consciously accepted this risk, then she should also be legally prosecuted.’
The number of recent infections as of Tuesday in Garmisch is 59, including 25 staff at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort where Yasmin A works in the defence department. The resort is reserved for members of the American military, their families and veterans.
Lawyer Arndt Kempgens said: ‘From the point of view of conditional intent, this can even lead to criminal liability for wilful and dangerous bodily harm according to Section 224 of the Criminal Code. The sentence ranges from six months to 10 years in prison.’
US Army spokesperson Donald Wrenn told Bild: ‘For US civilian employees, the Bavarian regulations for the prevention of infectious diseases apply, just like for every German citizen.
‘The US Army in Bavaria keeps its soldiers and civilians as well as the Bavarian ordinances with regard to limiting the spread of the virus to a high standard. Any violation of these regulations would be inconsistent with our behavior and our efforts to keep our communities safe.
‘Our main focus is currently on the thorough and precise identification of contact persons as well as additional tests to limit the possible spread of Covid-19.’
The woman is said to have visited the Peaches bar on September 3 and the Irish Pub in Garmisch on September 4. The Edelweiss Lodge and Resort has shut down operations for two weeks.
Around 300 tests were carried out on Monday and the results are still awaited. Three new infections emerged from 740 tests conducted over the weekend.
Bavaria’s governor, Markus Soeder, called the outbreak in Garmisch-Partenkirchen ‘a model case of stupidity’ because Yasmin A took a risk even though she had symptoms.
He said ‘such recklessness must have consequences’ and suggested the woman could receive a stiff fine.
Breaching quarantine rules can result in fines of up to 2,000 euros (£1,820), but further penalties and liability for damages are possible if others become infected or businesses suffer economic harm as a result.
The outbreak has lead to a 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants and a rule that no more than five people can gather in public.
John Tomassi, spokesperson for the US Army Europe, said the military is conducting its own investigation into the incident and urges anyone who had contact with Yasmin A get tested for coronavirus.