Houses sealed off in Verl, Germany after meat factory virus outbreak
UNTV News • June 24, 2020 • 312
A residential area in the town of Verl was sealed off on Tuesday (June 23) and its residents put into compulsory quarantine after a coronavirus outbreak at a meatpacking plant nearby.
As a fence was set up surrounding the area, some residents were tested by medical staff outside their buildings while others watched from their windows and were handed toys and wet wipes by staff on the other side of the fence.
Verl mayor Michael Esken said it was the only solution he could come up with given that many plant employees live side by side with neighbours who work elsewhere, increasing the risk of contagion for the whole community.
Earlier, the premier of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet said he was putting the entire Guetersloh district, where Verl is located, back into lockdown until June 30.
Guetersloh, with about 360,000 residents, is the first area in Germany to reintroduce a lockdown after the authorities began gradually lifting restrictive measures at the end of April.
Also on Tuesday, the head of the Robert Koch Institute for public health, Lothar Wieler, said local outbreaks had been a major factor behind a spike in the last few days in the coronavirus reproduction rate, currently estimated at 2.76.
A reproduction rate, or ‘R’, of 2.76 means that 100 people who have contracted the virus infect, on average, 276 others. (Reuters)
Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from the central tourism hot spot of Danang on Monday (July 27) after three residents tested positive for the coronavirus on the weekend, the government said.
The Southeast Asian country is back on high alert after the government on Saturday (July 25) confirmed its first community infections since April, and another three cases on Sunday (July 26), all in and around Danang.
The evacuation will take at least four days with domestic airlines operating approximately 100 flights daily from Danang to 11 Vietnamese cities, the government said in a statement.
Vietnam has imposed strict quarantine measures and carried out an aggressive and widespread testing programme during the pandemic, keeping its total tally of reported infections to just 420, with no deaths. =
Vietnam is still closed to foreign tourism, but saw a surge in domestic travellers looking to take advantage of discounted flights and holiday packages for local hotels and resorts. Those arriving from Danang to other parts of the country would be required to quarantine at home for 14 days, the health ministry said. Following the discovery of the new cases, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered police to step up a crackdown on illegal immigration to the country.
State media on Sunday said police in Danang had arrested a 42-year-old Chinese man it said was the head of a criminal group which helps people illegally enter Vietnam from China.
Authorities have not officially linked the new cases in Danang to illegal immigration. The government said in a separate statement on Monday that authorities in Ha Giang province, which borders China, had caught more than 1,500 people illegally crossing into the province since May. Most of those caught were Vietnamese citizens, the statement said, and were quarantined. (Reuters)
Designers in Indonesia and Malaysia are adding their artistic touches to reusable face masks, providing essential supplies and style and uniqueness amid the pandemic.
In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Nicholas Septian Sugandi’s print shop had been losing business throughout his country’s mass-scale restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, but thanks to a new product introduced in May, lost business has been “recovered”.
Sugandi’s shop has been printing customers’ faces onto reusable face masks so that they can “look like themselves” when wearing it.
Each of the reusable masks takes around 30 minutes to produce, and cost 50,000 Indonesian rupiah ($3) each. The print shop has received hundreds of orders.
Wearing a face mask remains a mandatory practice across Indonesia.
In neighbouring Malaysia, textile designer Hafiz Drahman has utilised traditional designs from around the region to create colourful cloth masks with interchangeable filters.
In particular, Hafiz uses Batik, which is a traditional Javanese art that uses wax and ink to decorate cloth, and is derived from the Javanese word “titik,” meaning “dot”.
“So, as a designer, I saw that as an opportunity to use the cloth that I had, that is Batik textiles, and turn it into face masks,” Hafiz said from his workshop in Shah Alam, on the outskirts of capital Kuala Lumpur.
Although face masks are not compulsory in Malaysia, people are encouraged to wear them to protect themselves in public areas.
Hafiz currently sells his masks at 20 ringgits ($4.68) each.
Indonesia currently has 50,187 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,620 deaths, the highest total in Southeast Asia, while Malaysia has recorded 8,600 cases and 121 deaths as of Friday morning (June 26). (Reuters)
Authorities in Germany’s Goettingen have called on police to enforce quarantine measures following a rise in local coronavirus infections, which has caused the country’s virus reproduction rate to spike.
Tense situations in mass quarantine situations along with rising summer temperatures have seen tempers spike with police in Goettingen facing sometimes violent opposition to coronavirus measures.
A riot broke out at a block of flats on Saturday where around 700 people had been placed into quarantine.
Around 200 people tried to get out, but 500 people complied with quarantine rules.
In the ensuing fracas, eight police officers were injured after residents started to attack law enforcement officials.
“Recently the mood towards the measures and the law enforcers worsened as a result of a ring leader. A group started spreading resentment. Insults were made, there were attempted assaults and after the mentioned ring leader was taken into custody on June 19, things calmed down. Yesterday afternoon, however, things escalated again,” said Goettingen Chief of Police, Uwe Luehrig.
“The police, and I was able to see this with my own eyes on video, had bottles, stones, metal bars, planks of wood, household objects and fireworks thrown at them. This is what led to the aforementioned injuries. During the police deployment the police were forced to use measures like mild physical force but a lot of pepper spray was also used,” Luehrig said.
Low income residents of the housing estate, who are also not able to work, have complained of a lack of supplies with one man saying food brought to them was past its sell-by date.
Another resident complained of pain from the after-effects of the pepper spray.
City authorities have said they are fully funding translation and medical assistance and the delivery of care packages but admitted that things were still not running smoothly.
Germany’s reproduction rate of novel coronavirus infections jumped to 1.79, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for public health said on Saturday, far above the level needed to contain it over the longer term.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 687 to 189,822, data from the RKI showed on Sunday. (Reuters)
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