In Brief

Coronavirus R rate rockets in Germany after factory outbreak

Infection rate rises from 1.79 to 2.88 overnight as more than 6,000 meat plant workers are quarantined

Germany’s coronavirus reproduction rate has soared to 2.88 following a mass outbreak at a meat-processing plant, official figures show.

The R rate has climbed from 1.79 on Saturday and 1.06 on Friday, reports the country’s Robert Koch Institute for public health (RKI), which bases the numbers on a four-day average. 

A reproduction rate of 2.88 “means that out of 100 people who contract the virus, another 288 others will get infected”, explains The Times, and  “a rate of less than one is needed to contain the disease”.

The new spike comes after up to a third of the 6,500 workers at an abattoir in the northern town of Rheda-Wiedenbruck tested positive for Covid-19 last week, “prompting the closure of local schools and an urgent investigation”, Sky News reports.

Officials in North Rhine Westphalia have ordered around 6,500 employees at the abattoir, owned by meat-processing giant Toennies, and their families to go into quarantine. The Times says that it is “unclear to what extent the virus has spread outwards into the wider community”.

However, separate outbreaks have been reported in “a variety of locations” across the country, including “hospitals and nursing homes”, and in “centres for asylum seekers and refugees, among those harvesting crops and at religious and family gatherings”, adds Sky News.

In total, 191,657 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in Germany, with 8,897 deaths, according to latest data

Germany had been easing its lockdown restrictions, as well as relaxing the rules around travel to European countries, although the authorities have advised against visiting the UK while quarantine rules are in place.

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