German authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia are returning localization measures after an outbreak of coronavirus associated with a meat factory.
Over 1,500 Tönnies employees have tested positive.
State Premier Armin Lachet said that “preventive measures” in the Gutersloh area, where about 360,000 people live, will last until June 30.
This is the first such step, since in May Germany began to lift restrictions throughout the country.
The country has been praised for its response to the crisis, but there are concerns that the infection is growing again.
What is going on in Gutersloh?
Mr. Lachet described the outbreak associated with a meat factory in Tönnie, southwest of Gütersloh, as the “largest infectious incident” in the country.
“We decided that further measures are needed,” he told reporters.
People are not forbidden to leave the area, but Mr. Lachet called on the locals “not to go to other areas”.
Bars, museums, cinemas and gyms must be closed, and restaurants can only serve takeaway. More stringent measures of social distance have come into force, which means that people can only meet with one person outside their own household in public. Schools and nurseries for 50,000 children were closed.
There is also mandatory quarantine for all workers in the affected plant. To ensure compliance, three police units were deployed, accompanied by relief workers.
Authorities have installed metal fencing around the residential buildings where workers live and distribute food to more than 7,000 workers.
Mr. Lachet said it was important that quarantined workers be treated humanely. Only 24 residents of the district who do not work at the plant have so far tested positive for the virus, he added.
- Why are outbreaks in meat processing plants?
All employees of the consulates of Bulgaria, Poland and Romania visited the region, and translators are ready to talk with migrant workers.
On Tuesday, Mr. Lachet criticized the Tönnies group for their response, telling reporters that their desire to collaborate “could have been greater.”
All operations on the site were suspended last Wednesday, The representative of the Tönnies Group apologized for the outbreak.
Local authorities have the right to take various measures in their fields. Rules vary from region to region.
- Germany is divided as states unlock
This is not the only localized outbreak in Germany. In the central part of the German city of Göttingen was placed under quarantine police were sent to maintain order on saturday after residents tried to get out.
Officials said those inside were attacking officers with fireworks, bottles and metal bars. Although most of them comply with quarantine.
What is the situation in Germany?
Lothar Wheeler, head of the Robert Koch Institute’s Public Health Authority (RKI), told reporters on Tuesday that there is a risk of a second wave of infections in the country, but said he is optimistic that they can prevent it.
Currently, the reproduction rate — the R number, which indicates how many people can transmit the virus to one infected person — is estimated at 2.76 in Germany.
But authorities emphasized that the outbreaks remain localized.
The number R must be less than one to reduce the incidence rate.