Germany: Locals react to coronavirus outbreak at Toennies abattoir in NRW

Local residents of the North Rhine-Westphalia town of Rheda-Wiedenbrueck shared their thoughts about the COVID-19 outbreak at Toennies meat factory on Saturday, where over 1000 infections were reported. Claudia, an animal rights activist, said that knowing how the conditions at the meat processing factory were, she was not surprised. “Nevertheless, it is a shock to be standing yourself in the middle of the pandemic centre, it isn’t Heinsberg nor Bergamo,” she added, before blaming the company for making everyone go back to square one after weeks of lockdown. Another resident, Martin, stated that despite having lost trust in Toennies it was very important that they offered all their support to the police and authorities, so that everything to localise and quarantine people is done to contain the outbreak. Dirk, a local shop owner who was surprised to see how quickly the number of infections grew, expressed his concern of returning to a full lockdown. “My store was closed for 7 weeks because of the corona epidemic, and we are all fearing another complete lockdown, I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens, but many colleagues of the gastronomy branch wouldn’t survive that,” he said. Gutersloh County Commissioner Sven Georg said on Thursday that he believes European border openings caused the increase in coronavirus cases at the local meatpacking plant. The meatpacking plant owned by Toennies, as well as local schools and kindergartens, have been shut down after the outbreak. According to reports, the number of people at the plant who have tested positive for the virus has risen to 1,029 since Friday. All 6,500 workers and managers, as well as their families, are under quarantine.

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