An American woman living in Germany is facing a heavy fine after being accused of recklessly spreading the coronavirus.
The 26-year-old woman has been acccused of causing outbreak in the Bavarian Alps by local authorities who say she ignored instructions to self-isolate and went on a pub crawl.
The woman, who has not been named, reportedly works at a US military base near the Alpine town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
The town is now facing tough restrictions after the weekly infection rate crossed the German safety limit of 50 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Pubs and restaurants have been ordered to close at 10pm and public gatherings have been limited to five people.
Local health authorities say the woman was tested for the virus after she developed symptoms but ignored clear instructions to self-isolate until the results were available.
Instead they allege she visited several local pubs and bars where she is believed to have infected a number of people.
“The lady had symptoms, was examined at the test station and asked to self-isolate. But she didn't do that,” a spokesman for local health authorities said.
“I am angry at this American woman who plunged into nightlife despite showing symptoms and being told to self-isolate. That was irresponsible,” Anton Speer, a local councillor, told Bild newspaper.
“Now we have to find everyone she’s been in contact with fast and do a lot of testing. The young lady is facing legal action.”
The woman faces a fine of up to €2,000 (£1,840) for failing to obey instructions to self-isolate, and lawyers warned she could also face civil claims for damages from local businesses.
In theory, she could face prosecution for negligent bodily harm, which carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, but it is thought unlikely the case will be taken that far.
“We must protect responsible people from those who are irresponsible,” Markus Söder, the Bavarian regional prime minister said. “In this specific case, a very high fine will have to be imposed. This is a very specific case where one person’s recklessness and irresponsibility endangers others.”
“It’s a disaster,” Ian O’Hagan, who runs a local Irish pub that has been hit by the new restrictions, told Bild. "The thought she knew she was unwell makes me sick. She’s not a child. At 26 you should know what you’re doing. Obviously she was a party animal to be out pubbing even though she wasn't feeling well.”