Bonn The Maritim-Hotel in Bad Godesberg hosted special guests since Tuesday. 140 soldiers of the Bundeswehr, including some civilians, have taken up quarters there. This action has to do with Corona.
Only business travellers are currently staying in hotels because of the corona crisis. Since Tuesday, the Maritim Hotel in Bad Godesberg has been accommodating guests of a very special kind: 140 soldiers of the Bundeswehr, including some civilians, have gradually taken up quarters in the hotel, which has more than 400 beds. And there is a special reason for this, as Lieutenant Colonel Ulrich Fonrobert, spokesman for the Bundeswehr military base, explains to the GA on request. He said that these are Bundeswehr forces from a wide variety of specialities, which are soon to be deployed in Afghanistan as part of the routine exchange of personnel. This involves about 3000 soldiers.
"Due to the current circumstances, we must ensure that these forces, which are now to be deployed abroad, remain healthy and free of pathogens until departure", said the Lieutenant Colonel. For this reason, they are currently accommodated in suitable hotels throughout Germany and isolated from all other persons for 14 days. A handful of hotels are located in the Cologne-Bonn area, including the Maritim. Fonrobert may not speak of quarantine in this context. "These men are all healthy and intend to remain so.“
And why not put them in the army barracks? "The simple reason is that they are of course still occupied by our soldiers in the normal way. That's why we decided on hotel accommodation, for which of course we also pay," says Fonrobert. The hotel operators would also benefit from this.
However, this is only possible in hotels such as the Maritim, which can give a contractually guaranteed promise to be able to comply with the strict hygiene regulations of the German Armed Forces. This means not only that the hotel must be large enough to be able to comply with a strict separation of the Bundeswehr forces accommodated there, but also self-contained. Catering and room hygiene must also be guaranteed in such a way that the hotel staff do not come into contact with the room guests.
To ensure that the 14-day isolation in the rooms - a so-called yard walk is not possible according to Fonrobert - the soldiers are equipped with W-Lan and computers. This enables them to stay in contact with their families and friends. Fonronbert assures that they also have the possibility to contact the Bundeswehr Psychological Service and the military chaplain at any time. "Soldiers are used to a lot and they know what they are doing it for. And for the relatives they are on duty from now on anyway, so they are no longer personally available.“
Nevertheless, it is a "very special situation for everyone", the lieutenant colonel admits. At the end of the two weeks, all soldiers would then be taken to the military section of Cologne/Bonn Airport, from where they will fly to Afghanistan.
(Original text: Lisa Inhoffen / Translation: Mareike Graepel)