Coronavirus: Germany imposes regional lockdown after outbreak at meatpacking plant

Ross McGuinness
·3-min read
Workers with face masks enter the Toennies meatpacking plant, Europe's biggest slaughterhouse, where the German Bundeswehr army helps to build up a test center for coronavirus in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, Germany, Friday, June 19, 2020. Hundreds of new COVID-19 cases are linked to a large meatpacking plant, officials ordered the closure of the slaughterhouse, as well as isolation and tests for everyone else who had worked at the Toennies site — putting about 7,000 people under quarantine. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Workers at the Tönnies meatpacking plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany, where hundreds of staff have tested positive for coronavirus. (AP)

Germany has imposed regional coronavirus lockdown measures following an outbreak linked to a meatpacking plant.

Lockdown restrictions will return to the Gütersloh district in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The local lockdown in an area that is home to about 360,000 people will last until 30 June, officials announced.

In the UK, a number of factories have been forced to close after hundreds of workers tested positive for coronavirus. Health officials in Wales said they are considering a local lockdown after an outbreak at the 2 Sisters meat processing plant in Anglesey.

In Germany, state’s premier Armin Laschet told a press conference: "We're reintroducing contact restrictions, as in March. It is a preventative measure."

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The outbreak is linked to the Tönnies meatpacking plant in the town of Rheda-Wiedenbrück, where more than 1,500 workers have tested positive for coronavirus.

At the weekend, Germany’s transmission number, or R rate, leapt from 1.06 on Friday to 2.88 on Sunday.

Gütersloh is the first area in Germany to go back into lockdown after nationwide restrictions were gradually lifted from the end of April.

Laschet said bars, museums, galleries, cinemas, sports halls, gyms and swimming pools in Gütersloh would be closed.

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He said: "This is a limited measure of caution. We will lift the measure as soon as possible, when we have certainty about the safety of the infection.”

On Tuesday, the Robert Koch Institute for public health said the coronavirus reproduction rate had fallen slightly to 2.76.

This means that 100 people with coronavirus would likely infect 276 others.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 192,000 coronavirus cases in Germany, with 8,909 deaths.

Germany follows Portugal in reinstating coronavirus restrictions. On Monday, the Portuguese government reimposed some lockdown measures, including an 8pm curfew, in the capital Lisbon after a surge in new coronavirus cases.

South Korea also revealed it is in the midst of a second wave of infections.

On Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning to a number of countries after reporting a worldwide record daily increase in COVID-19 cases.

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