BERLIN – Coronavirus outbreak in a meat plant

Over the weekend, news broke of a coronavirus outbreak in a meat plant in the northwest of the country near the Dutch border. While the plant was forced to stop production from Saturday (9 May) through 18 May, there are now more than 200 infections linked to the location.

Of the 960 tested, authorities are still waiting on the results of 260 tests, meaning the outbreak could be even larger, particularly as many workers live in small apartments with three to five other people. 

In the factory, inspectors found that employees could not respect the 1.5-metre distance rule in changing rooms and on the cutting lines. They also found that masks were not being worn properly. Many have since harshly criticised the industry and made accusations of conscious violations of German worker safety laws. 

Subsequently, Coesfeld has drastically surpassed the limit of 50 new infections per 100,000 residents in seven days implemented by the government last week.

Coesfeld joins the districts of Sonnenberg and Greiz in the eastern state of Thuringia as it surpassed the government limit on new infections. 

Conservative Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has called for local measures to be implemented in these municipalities to reduce the spread of the virus. “We need courageous and comprehensive action on the ground,” he said in a Sunday evening (10 May) television interview. (Sarah Lawton |

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