First local district in Germany ordered back into lockdown

First local district in Germany ordered back into lockdown

The district of Gütersloh in North Rhine-Westphalia has become the first in Germany ordered to reenter lockdown, after a mass coronavirus outbreak at a local abattoir. A little later in the day, the lockdown was extended to cover the neighbouring Warendorf district. 

Gütersloh reenters coronavirus lockdown

State Premier Armin Laschet announced on Tuesday morning that restrictions on public life would be re-imposed on the entire Gütersloh district. A little later the ruling was extended to cover Warendorf as well. “For the first time in Germany, we will return an entire district to the measures that applied several weeks ago,” said Laschet. 

The new measures - initially in place until at least June 30 - will affect the 370.000 people living in Gütersloh and the 280.000 residents of Warendorf. They are identical to those which originally came into force back in March, meaning that cinemas, museums, concert halls, bars, gyms, swimming pools and saunas will be forced to close.

Restaurants can, however, remain open. Schools and daycare centres in the district have already been closed since last week. There is no ban on leaving the area, Laschet said. However, he appealed for residents to not travel unless strictly necessary. 

Isolated pockets of infections

The decision to reimpose restrictions came after more than 1.500 workers (out of 7.000) tested positive for coronavirus at a Tönnies slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrück. All employees at the meat processing plant are currently in quarantine, but authorities have nonetheless decided to step up restrictions in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. 

Localised infection clusters like these are the main reason why Germany’s reproduction number - a crucial figure that enumerates how quickly the outbreak is spreading - has shot up over the past few days. 

On June 22, the Robert Koch Institute calculated that the R number was 2,76, meaning that each individual infected with coronavirus goes on to infect 2,76 others. Authorities have repeatedly stressed that the number needs to remain below 1 in order for the pandemic to recede. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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