Churchgoers and guests of restaurant test positive for coronavirus

At least 40 people have tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a service at a Baptist church in the western German city of Frankfurt, the city’s health department said on Saturday.

“Most of them are not particularly sick. To our knowledge, there is only one person in hospital,” said Rene Gottschalk, head of Frankfurt’s health department.

Earlier, Wladimir Pritzkau, deputy head of the Baptist congregation, indicated that six people were being treated in hospital.

Meanwhile, authorities in the nearby city of Hanau, about 25 kilometres east of Frankfurt, said that “at least 16 people there were infected with the coronavirus” in connection with the service, citing information from district authorities.

In response, authorities called off a Muslim service scheduled for Sunday in Hanau’s Herbert Droese Stadium. They said that allowing the event to go ahead would be irresponsible in light of events in Frankfurt.

Elsewhere, seven people tested positive for coronavirus after visiting a restaurant in the north-western state of Lower Saxony.

Regional authorities in the district of Leer said it was likely that the infections had occurred following visits to the same restaurant.

“The infections are probably related to a visit to a restaurant,” said the district health department in a statement in which it confirmed seven related positive tests during the past week.

“These new cases have resulted in domestic quarantine being ordered as a precautionary measure for at least 50 people,” the statement added, with further test results still pending.

The outbreak is the first to have taken place in a restaurant since they were allowed to reopen in stages across Germany’s 16 states starting on May 9.

Among those infected was the owner of the “Alte Scheune” restaurant in Moormerland, a municipality in the district of Leer.

“There were guests who were infected in my restaurant,” the man, who did not want to be named, told dpa on Saturday.

Four guests had since tested positive, the owner said, along with a further three of his friends.

The owner did not know when the virus had spread, but said it was possible it had been as the establishment celebrated its reopening on May 15.

On the evening, the owner had invited around 40 selected guests – including representatives from companies that had supported him through the crisis.

He had spent the evening in the kitchen, but briefly greeted his guests in the main dining room. Distance and hygiene rules were observed at all times, he insisted.

It was also possible that the guests had already been infected before visiting the restaurant, he said.

The owner told dpa he had spent the past months renovating the restaurant and preparing for its reopening.

Meanwhile, the eastern state of Thuringia said on Saturday it plans to lift all coronavirus-related restrictions from June 6, including social-distancing, limits on gatherings and mask requirements.

Details will be thrashed out during a regional cabinet meeting set for Tuesday, a spokesperson for the state government said.

Source: dpa

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