The premier of the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia said on Tuesday he was putting the Guetersloh area back into lockdown until June 30 after a coronavirus outbreak at a meatpacking plant there. Guetersloh, with about 360,000 residents, is the first area in Germany to go back into lockdown after the authorities began gradually lifting restrictive measures at the end of April.
A total of 657 people have tested positive for the coronavirus at a slaughterhouse in northwestern Germany, authorities announced on Wednesday, out of 983 completed tests. Germany’s meat processing sector has come under increasing scrutiny during the pandemic, with several plants reporting massive outbreaks. The sector is plagued with poor working conditions, exploitative contracts and usurious rents in mass housing for eastern European workers.
Madeleine McCann, the British girl who disappeared in Portugal in 2007 aged just three, is dead, Germany’s prosecutor said on Thursday after identifying an imprisoned German child abuser as a murder suspect. Her disappearance sparked an international search, with missing posters of the little girl’s face papered across the world and celebrity appeals for information that could help track her down and bring her abductors to justice.
Lufthansa and the German government have finalized the terms of a €9 billion ($9.8 billion) bailout, following weeks of intense negotiations over the future of Europe’s leading global airline. The rescue package will give the government a 20% stake in the group, which owns airlines in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, and two seats on its supervisory board.
The German economy shrank by 2.2 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous three-month period as shutdowns in the country and beyond started to bite, official data showed Friday. That means Europe’s biggest economy went into recession following a small dip at the end of last year. The decline in the January-March period was the biggest since 2009.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany’s goal of slowing the spread of coronavirus has been achieved, so all shops can be reopened as lockdown restrictions are eased. Bundesliga football has been given the green light to resume and schools will gradually reopen in the summer term. Germany’s 16 federal states, under an agreement with the government, will take control of timing the reopening.
Germany has banned all activity by the Islamist Hezbollah movement and police have carried out raids on mosques and centers linked to the group. Until now the political wing of the Shia Lebanese group, backed by Iran, was able to operate on German soil while its military arm was banned. Several European countries have already banned Hezbollah, which has some 1,000 activists in Germany.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in quarantine after a doctor who gave her a vaccine tested positive for coronavirus. Ms Merkel was told about the doctor’s test shortly after holding a news briefing about new measures to curb the spread of the virus, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said. In the conference earlier on Sunday, the German chancellor announced a nationwide ban on public meetings of more than two people outside of work.
The number of people confirmed as injured after a car ploughed into a carnival crowd in western Germany has risen to 52, police say. Eighteen of those hurt in Monday’s incident are children. In total 35 people remain in hospital. A 29-year-old German citizen was arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide in the town of Volkmarsen. The motive is unclear. Planned carnival events are to be held in Hesse state, where the town is located, on Tuesday.
Leading German politicians have called for the far-right party Alternative für Deutschland to be placed under surveillance, claiming it has helped to fuel the extremist rhetoric behind the deadly attack on Hanau. Nine mostly young people all with an immigrant background were murdered on Thursday in the western German city by Tobias Rathjen, a 43-year-old who had posted a racist video and manifesto on the internet before carrying out the killings.