Germany records new massive outbreak in residential building

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A new massive outbreak of infections with Covid-19 has been confirmed this Thursday in a large tower of houses in the German town of Göttingen, in the northern federal state of Lower Saxony. The 700 inhabitants of the building have received the order of confinement to fulfill a quarantine of 14 days, announced the city council of the city of 118,000 inhabitants. The measure aims to interrupt the chain of infections and prevent infections from spreading throughout the city, said a spokesman for local authorities. These had the first signs of the outbreak last weekend after confirming two positives for Covid-19 in routine tests among the residents of the housing complex. On Monday and Tuesday, two mobile units carried out tests among residents, of which more than a hundred have tested positive, according to local authorities at a press conference.

“The measure lacks an alternative to prevent new infections since the number of contact people inside the building is very high,” said Petra Broistedt, the city’s councilor for Social Affairs. The local authorities have installed a mobile information unit at the entrance to the building to advise its inhabitants, where an interpreter also works, given that a large number of residents are of Romanian origin and in many cases do not speak the German language. Broistedt said that the local authorities will be in charge of supplying the 700 people, “for which we work with the firefighters, police and other municipal bodies. It is also the second massive outbreak in Gottingen in one month. At the end of May, the local authorities ordered the confinement of the inhabitants of a complex of three large buildings with some 400 houses, in which more than a hundred infections were also registered after the celebration of several family cross-parties.

The ordered confinements in Göttingen are similar to the one issued a few days ago in seven blocks of buildings with some 370 houses in the popular Berlin neighborhood of Neukölln after registering more than 70 Covid-19 infections among its inhabitants. Martin Hikel, mayor of that district of the German capital attributed the outbreak to the relaxation of the population and the abandonment of discipline to maintain the basic rules of hygiene and physical distance between people in order to avoid infections. In quarantine are also the 7,000 employees of the large slaughterhouse and meat processing factory of the Tönnies firm in the town of Gütersloh, mostly slaughterers and butchers from eastern countries hired through subsidiary companies and who reside in conditions of overcrowding and poor hygiene in shared houses and barracks. After registering more than 650 infections among the operators, the Gütersloh district authorities ordered the closure of the factory, but also of all the schools and nurseries in the town in a preventive way, which has caused irritation to the population.

Meanwhile, the outbreak at the Tönnies company has led to an open war between its only two owners: Clemens Tönnies and his nephew Robert Tönnies. The second has accused in writing the first and the management of the company of managing the slaughterhouses and meat processing factories in an irresponsible way and of threatening the future of the firm and the security of the population. The son of the founder of the company Bernd Tönnies accuses the boards of directors and control of breaching since 2017 the guidelines to end the system of subcontractors of low-paid workers from Eastern Europe and of systematically ignoring their complaints in this regard.

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