An American woman could face up to 10 years in prison after allegedly spreading coronavirus during a bar crawl in Germany.
The unidentified 26-year-old woman faces accusations that she infected 59 people thus far after visiting multiple bars and pubs through the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, even though she was displaying symptoms related to Covid-19.
The woman was in Germany because she worked for a hotel resort for the United States forces stationed in Germany, according to reports.
Of the 59 confirmed infections allegedly from the woman, 25 of them are staff members who work with the American at the German resort.
Anton Speer, who heads the county administration, told reporters on Tuesday that they were still waiting for results from 300 tests that were conducted on Monday. There were three new infections found from 740 tests done over the weekend.
The woman’s actions have been deemed “a model case of stupidity” by Bavaria's governor Markus Soeder, who said the woman knew she had Covid-19 symptoms prior to going to a series of bars and pubs in the town.
He suggested the woman should face a fine because “such recklessness must have consequences”.
Prosecutors in Munich have opened an investigation into the woman to better determine if she caused “bodily harm” to those around her with her actions. A spokesperson told the Associated Press the investigation was “ongoing”.
Bavaria rules dictate that the woman could face a $2,000 fine for her actions. But lawyers speaking to The Guardian said, depending on what the investigation yields, the woman could actually face six months to 10 years in prison for her actions.
She could also possibly be liable to the lost revenue from businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the AP, the local outbreak has resulted in a 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants in the German state, and no more than five people can now gather in public.
The Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, which is reserved for members of the American military, their families, and veterans, has also been closed for the last two weeks amid the outbreak.
The US military was also launching its own investigation into the outbreak.
The Army said any breach of military or Bavarian coronavirus regulations “would not be in keeping with our conduct and efforts to keep our communities safe.”
“We are currently gathering the facts associated with this incident, as are our Bavarian hosts,” the Army said. “US civilian employees are subject to Bavarian ordinances on prevention of infectious diseases, just as any German citizen.”
Germany has been praised for its response to the coronavirus pandemic compared to other countries. The country has recorded more than 9,360 deaths due to the novel virus, about one-twentieth of the death toll in the US.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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