Following a large local outbreak at meat processing company Toennies, COVID-19 infections in Germany increased by 537 within one day to a total of 190,359, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Monday.
As of Sunday, the number of infected employees of Germany‘s largest meat processing company reached 1,331.
The critical reproduction number, R-number, which indicates how many people one infected person is infecting, climbed to 2.88, according to the RKI daily situation report for Sunday. For the past weeks, the R-number in Germany had been below one.
The increase of the R-number was “mainly related to local outbreaks, the outbreak in North Rhine-Westphalia playing a particularly important role in this context,” noted the RKI, the federal government agency for disease control and prevention.
Since case numbers in Germany were generally low, local outbreaks had a “relatively strong influence” on the reproduction number.
Germany’s Minister of Health Jens Spahn highlighted the importance of containing the outbreak at the meat processing company.
“Now it is essential to contain every regional outbreak immediately and to break the chains of infection,” Spahn told newspaper Rheinische Post on Monday.
Toennies has closed its doors and all its 7,000 employees have been ordered to quarantine.
“Only determined action on the scene in East Westphalia can prevent a spreading to the whole of Germany,” stressed Spahn.