Dusseldorf Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) no longer rules out a regional lockdown after the massive corona outbreak at meat producer Tönnies with hundreds of infected people. The infection process can still be localized. “If this changes, a comprehensive lockdown in the region may also be necessary,” said Laschet on Friday evening in Düsseldorf.
The head of government spoke of a massive outbreak: “We perceive an infection that is new in this magnitude,” said Laschet. “It is the largest, unprecedented level of infection in North Rhine-Westphalia.”
The affected district of Gütersloh tightened its measures on Friday evening and quarantined all employees at the Rheda-Wiedenbrück location. This also affected the administration, management and top management, the district said. All “household members” of the employees are also in quarantine.
Some employees can according to the information in so-called work quarantine. This means that they can only move between their place of work and their place of residence. This also applies to Clemens Tönnies, partner in Germany’s largest slaughterhouse, Tönnies, as a group spokesman confirmed.
“We will do everything we can to prevent a far-reaching lockdown in the Gütersloh district. Unfortunately we have to state that the quarantines issued for the staff in the production areas on June 16 were not observed by everyone, ”said District Administrator Sven-Georg Adenauer (CDU) according to the announcement.
803 people tested positive
The review of the quarantine will be significantly strengthened with the local regulatory authorities and with other outside forces. How many people are actually affected remained open at first. District Administrator Adenauer previously had quarantine for around 7,000 people. That has now been expanded.
After the virus had appeared in the Tönnies factory, schools and daycare centers had already been ordered in the Gütersloh district. According to previous information, the district wants to avert a lockdown with these and other measures.
According to the district, 3,500 tests have now been carried out at Tönnies. 1450 employees were tested on Friday alone, the group reported in the late afternoon. To date, a total of 803 people have been infected. 463 test results were negative. The remaining findings are still pending.
The Bundeswehr is now helping out with the ordered mass tests. 25 soldiers arrived on Friday and took their first samples from employees. They also took part in organizational work: “Barriers and fences were set up,” said the spokesman for the Bundeswehr in NRW, Uwe Kort.
The soldiers come from Augustdorf in the neighboring district of Lippe and from Rhineland-Palatinate. “But the district still has responsibility,” the Bundeswehr spokesman continued. “We only support.”
Special meeting of the NRW state cabinet on Sunday
The corona virus had already broken out several times in slaughterhouses. The event shows the problematic working and accommodation conditions in the meat industry, said Laschet.
The CDU politician sees a major problem in the wide range of places where Tönnies employees live. The Prime Minister spoke of a difficult situation because the employees of the slaughterhouse lived in addition to the Gütersloh district in Warendorf, Soest, Bielefeld, Hamm and other places. This spread poses an enormous risk of a pandemic – also in the border area to neighboring Lower Saxony. Everything is now being done to contain the outbreak.
The NRW state cabinet wants to deal with the Corona outbreak at Tönnies in a special session on Sunday. There the state government will assess the situation again, said Laschet.
Health Minister Jens Spahn and Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (both CDU) have agreed to provide as much staff as is necessary. “Everything that is necessary will be done – also with the support of the federal government,” said Laschet.
The prime minister appealed to people in the Gütersloh region in particular to “strictly” observe hygiene rules. “Everyone is now challenged, even those who are not employed in the meat industry,” said Laschet. Among other things, everyone should adhere to the obligation to wear a mask and keep their distance from other people.
The outbreak has an impact on numerous neighboring towns in the region where Tönnies employees live. In the city of Hamm, around 40 kilometers away, three schools were closed until the summer holidays after three children had been tested positively by Tönnies employees.
“All teachers and students of the respective classes as well as all other contact persons for the infected children are tested by the municipal Coronamobil and quarantined until the test result,” the city reported. A quarantine affects primary, secondary and secondary schools. A total of 95 Tönnies employees live in Hamm.
All Tönnies employees in the Warendorf district are also placed in quarantine. The circle recommended that all people living with Tönnies employees also go to quarantine.
Problems also in Göttingen and Kassel
By Friday, the district administration had 110 infected employees known. Most of them lived in Oelde, the district reported. 680 employees lived in the district area and were employed by external service providers. There would also be around 300 permanent Tönnies employees.
In the particularly badly affected city of Oelde, schools and kindergartens have been closed since Thursday. They should open again on Monday.
The federal government urged containment of the outbreak. It is now important to break the infection chains as quickly as possible, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Berlin. It was therefore right that large-scale series tests had been arranged in the Gütersloh district.
A new regulation enables more tests without symptoms at the till costs. The Robert Koch Institute has contact with the local health department.
Laschet paid respect to the parents and children, who are now confronted with closed schools and day care centers again due to the Corona outbreak at Tönnies. They were the first to be affected by the measures taken by the authorities, said the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia. “I can understand very well, to understand what that means for a child who hasn’t been to daycare and school for months, who then needs it again, and who is now a victim of this process. It’s very difficult to explain to a child, ”he said.
The city of Göttingen also faces challenges with another corona outbreak. “We now have to hope that everyone keeps a cool head in this exceptional situation,” said Christian Hölscher from the youth welfare office in Göttingen on Friday. Nearly 120 infections with the corona virus were confirmed within two days, the city said.
The authorities had quarantined the affected residential complex in the city center on Thursday. Around 700 residents are affected. It is “a local but massive infection,” said Lower Saxony’s Minister of Social Affairs Carola Reimann (SPD). “These events keep showing us that the pandemic is not over.”
In Kassel, meanwhile, around 20 people are in quarantine in a refugee accommodation after around 20 corona documents. It is the largest outbreak in the city so far, said health department head Ulrike Gote (Greens). Because there are four children among the infected, a school and a day care center were closed.
The number of new infections with the coronavirus detected within 24 hours is now higher than in a month. The health authorities reported 770 new cases to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) (data as of June 19, midnight). Most recently, the value was so high on May 20 (797 new infections).
A total of 188,534 people in Germany have been shown to have contracted Sars-CoV-2 since the beginning of the Corona crisis, as reported by the RKI on Friday morning.