German court lifts COVID-19 lockdown near meat plant

Berlin, (Asian independent) A German court has ended a lockdown imposed to tackle a coronavirus outbreak at a meat packing facility, the media reported on Tuesday.

Officials in North Rhine-Westphalia state brought back restrictions around Gutersloh in June after more than 1,500 Tonnies plant workers tested positive, reports the BBC.

The lockdown was due to end on Wednesday, although there was an option to extend it once more.

But the state’s Higher Administrative Court overturned the measures on Monday, calling them disproportionate.

While bringing in a lockdown at the start of the outbreak was “not unreasonable”, a court statement said, that should have given authorities time to impose a more focused lockdown.

Restaurants, bars and gyms can now reopen in Gutersloh district, and up to 10 people can meet outside – in line with national restrictions.

Kindergartens will reopen on Wednesday, officials said.

Since the weekend there have been 44 new confirmed cases. Only two have no connection to the Tonnies facility.

“It is crucial for our citizens that the tightened restrictions, which they have endured in a very disciplined manner, are now a thing of the past,” the BBC quoted Mayor Henning Schulz as saying.

Local officials imposed lockdowns in Gutersloh and the nearby Warendorf district on June 23 after the outbreak at the meatpacking plant – the first restrictions in Germany since the country began lifting nationwide measures in May.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the number of new COVID-19 infections in Germany increased by 219 within one day to 196,554, with 9,012 confirmed deaths.