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Local lockdown introduced after second spike in German state

German authorities have reintroduced lockdown restrictions in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia after a new COVID-19 outbreak, affecting over half a million people. In one district, a meatpacking plant has seen 1,500 employees test positive for the virus.

North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany’s most populated state and two of its districts have seen restrictions return after localised outbreaks. State premier, Armin Laschet, said that the ‘preventative measures’ would remain in place until at least 30 June.

Germany began to lift lockdown restrictions in May. Now, the affected districts of Gütersloh and Warendorf must close all bars, museums, gyms and cinemas. Restaurants can only offer a take-away service, schools must close and residents can only meet with one other person outside of their household in a public outdoor space.

In Gütersloh, a meatpacking plant has seen 1,500 employees test positive for the virus. A mandatory quarantine is in place for all workers at the plant and three police units have been deployed to guard employees’ homes. Metal fences have been put up around the residential buildings where workers live and authorities are distributing food to more than 7,000 people. Mr Laschet has criticised the group that owns the meatpacking plant for a lack of cooperation.

Other ‘local lockdowns’ around the country have also been put in place. In Göttingen, central Germany, residents of a tower block have been told that they must self-isolate. However, these small outbreaks are currently the exception – media reports suggest that in the past week, there were 140 local authorities in Germany with no new cases of the virus.

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