Germany resumes shutdown for 500,000 people after COVID-19 spike

  • Germany has re-imposed blockade restrictions in two districts, affecting more than 500,000 people, according to the BBC.
  • Coronavirus cases have skyrocketed in Gütersloh and Warendorf, including at a meat-packing plant where more than 1,500 employees have tested positive.
  • People in those districts can now only meet one other person in public, and schools and cultural venues must close.
  • Germany’s R0 number shot up to 2.88 over the weekend, according to The Local.
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According to the BBC, more than 500,000 people in Germany are again under the coronavirus blockade after cases increased in two districts of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The new locks were announced a few hours apart after new cases were found in Gütersloh and Warendorf.

The outbreak in Gütersloh is related to the Tönnies meat packing plant, where more than 1,500 workers tested positive.

The state minister, President Armin Laschet, described it as the largest infection incident in the country. New cases also appeared in Warendorf.

Armin Laschet germany coronavirus north rhine-westphalia

North Rhine-Westphalia Minister President Armin Laschet arrived for a meeting with the governors of the German federal states on the coronavirus on June 17, 2020.

Markus Schreiber / Pool via Reuters

According to the BBC, people in the two districts can now only meet one other person outside their home, in a public place.

Museums, bars, cinemas and gyms have also been closed. Gütersloh has already closed schools and kindergartens, while Warendorf plans to do so on Thursday, the network said.

All employees at the Tönnies plant, many of whom are migrants, are under quarantine. Metal fences have been built around some of the workers’ residential buildings, the BBC reported.

There have also been new outbreaks in Berlin and Göttingen, according to Bloomberg.

The country’s R0 number reached 2.88 on Sunday, according to the German edition of The Local. This means that for every infected person, an average of 2.88 others are expected to become infected as well. Any number much greater than 1 will eventually lead to an exponential increase.

Blocks in Germany have been lifted gradually since late April, with the country gaining international admiration for its handling of the crisis. Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that she was prepared to impose an “emergency brake” and add new blockades if cases escalated dangerously.

New reported cases had dropped to less than 100 in early June, but began to recede. On Tuesday, 712 new cases were reported.

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