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Flensburg goes into strict lockdown after huge spike in COVID mutation cases

Flensburg goes into strict lockdown after huge spike in COVID mutation cases

Flensburg goes into strict lockdown after huge spike in COVID mutation cases

The northern German city of Flensburg is going into a strict lockdown after a significant spike in the number of coronavirus cases linked to the highly-contagious “British” B.1.1.7 mutation. Some are saying that the situation in Flensburg is a warning sign of what could happen if mutations of COVID-19 are allowed to spread in Germany. 

Strict lockdown in Flensburg: Curfew & Contacts limited

As of Saturday, stricter lockdown restrictions will apply in Flensburg than in the rest of Germany - including a 9 pm to 5 am curfew and tighter contact restrictions. The new rules have been imposed initially for a week, but they might be extended if the situation does not improve significantly. Fines are threatened for anyone who violates the curfew, although exceptions will be made, for instance, for visits to the doctor or anyone travelling to work

The area is currently experiencing a significant coronavirus outbreak, driven by the highly-contagious COVID mutation B.1.1.7. A spokesperson for the city said that the large number of infections cannot be pinpointed to a recognisable local outbreak; instead, they are occurring “virtually everywhere”.

RKI: 50 percent of infections due to COVID mutation

As of Friday, there had been an average of 177,5 new coronavirus cases per 100.000 residents within seven days in Flensburg, compared to just 49,1 in the rest of Schleswig-Holstein. The seven-day incidence rate for Germany as a whole is currently 56,8.  The state premier of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, said the figures were “cause for great concern”. 

Experts at the Robert Koch Institute currently believe that around half of the new infections in Flensburg can be attributed to the mutation, although investigations are still ongoing. In comparison, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday that the British strain currently accounts for around 22 percent of cases across Germany as a whole. 

A warning for the rest of Germany?

Some figures are therefore expressing concern that Flensburg could represent a worrying indicator of what could happen in the rest of Germany if lockdown measures are lifted too soon: while the seven-day incidence rate has been falling over the past few weeks, it has now stagnated slightly. With around 10.000 new infections still being recorded every day, there is concern that this could rapidly increase once again with the spread of more infectious variants.

SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach said that Flensburg was “the first example of what we could face with further spread of UK B.1.1.7.” He therefore reiterated the need to keep strict lockdown measures in place until a seven-day incidence rate of 35 or less has been achieved.  

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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