730 test positive, thousands quarantined after German slaughterhouse outbreak

Around 730 workers at a slaughterhouse in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) had tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Thursday, German news agency DPA reported.

Local authorities had ordered the Toennies Group meatpacking plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck in the district of Guetersloh to be temporarily closed on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, around 7,000 people are under quarantine in Guetersloh. Schools and daycare centres will be closed from Thursday until June 29.

Regional media WDR reported Thursday that Guetersloh authorities plan to carry out around 5,300 more tests within the next few days.

The state of NRW has launched an investigation into the source of the infections.

Toennies said in a statement on Wednesday that the company will now primarily take care of the employees infected and in quarantine. It also said official tests have been carried out at other Toennies Group locations in recent weeks and there are currently no abnormalities.

In early May, an outbreak of more than 200 cases was seen at a Westfleisch meat-processing plant in Coesfeld, NRW.