Germany will put those who ignore quarantine rules into detention centers, including at least one repurposed refugee camp in the state of Saxony.
Other states say they will use hospitals and juvenile detention centers to hold violators.
According to a report from the Daily Mail, state governments can forcibly detain violators under the Disease Protection Act, which the German federal government renewed in November.
Saxony’s Interior Minister Roland Wöller said on Monday that it would only be used as a last resort and would require a court order.
“I assume that these will be very, very few cases. At the moment, none is known,” Wöller told German newspaper Die Welt.
Interior Minister Wöller added that last week, authorities gave out 300 verbal warnings and 1,400 fines for coronavirus lockdown violations. Police also broke up a party in Dresden over the weekend and deployed pepper spray against revellers.
In recent weeks, Germany has seen a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths with some days seeing over 30,000 new infections and a daily high of over 1,200 deaths from the virus, according to statistical data released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In total, the country has passed more than two million cases and over 46,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Chancellor Angela Merkel met with lawmakers from her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and told them that lockdowns could last until April.
“If we don’t manage to stop this British virus, then we will have 10 times the number of cases by Easter. We need eight to 10 more weeks of tough measures,” Merkel is quoted as saying by the tabloid Bild.
“Merkel said the coming eight to ten weeks would be very hard if the British variant spreads to Germany,” one of the meeting participants told Reuters.
Extended lockdowns could also affect the German economy, which shrank by five percent in 2020 overall as some sectors saw declines over ten percent.