German authorities announced on Tuesday, June 23, that some coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions have been reintroduced in the Gütersloh and Warendorf districts (North Rhine-Westphalia state). The restrictions have been reimposed after more than 1500 workers in a meatpacking plant in the area tested positive for COVID-19.
Bars, museums, cinemas, and gyms have all been closed again, while restaurants are only permitted to serve take away meals. Stricter social distancing measures have also been implemented, and people are now only permitted to see one other person from outside of their home, which must be in public. A mandatory quarantine is in place for employees of the meatpacking factory and fencing has been put up around the residential buildings surrounding the factory. State premier Armin Laschet announced that the preventative measures would be in place until at least Tuesday, June 30.
German authorities announced on Wednesday, June 17, that the ban on large events will be extended until at least October 31, while the travel warning to non-European countries for German citizens will remain in place until August 31.
As of June 23, health authorities have confirmed 192,480 COVID-19 cases and 8914 associated deaths in Germany. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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