Dhe opposition leader in the NRW state parliament, Thomas Kutschaty (SPD), has accused Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) of weak leadership in crisis management after the massive corona outbreak in the Tönnies meat factory. Laschet shies away from the political risk because he lacks the courage to take responsibility, said the SPD parliamentary group leader on Wednesday in the state parliament in Düsseldorf. “The weak leadership of this government is a risk for fighting the pandemic.” Laschet had previously defended his crisis management.
Rheda-Wiedenbrück, the headquarters of the meat factory concerned, is “today the largest virus hotspot in all of Europe,” said Kutschaty. The corona outbreak is worse than in Heinsberg and Ischgl. The state government hesitated for too long to take decisive measures to “prevent a second wave of infections from overturning Germany and Europe”.
NRW is nationwide “the first state” to “completely return” a region out of caution, said Laschet at the state parliament debate with a view to the lockdown in the districts of Gütersloh and Warendorf. In view of the criticism that the state government had shut down life in the affected circles too late, he replied: “We have to weigh things up.” He is always amazed at how quickly some are ready to restrict fundamental rights.
The lockdown will be expected of the people in the two affected districts. Due to the wide distribution of the places of residence and the Tönnies workforce, the outbreak harbors an “enormous pandemic risk”. How far the virus has spread in the population, nobody can say yet. The tests would be massively expanded again on Wednesday.
Laschet called on the other federal states to allow people from the Gütersloh district to vacation despite the Corona outbreak. “One thing is not possible: that people from the Gütersloh district are publicly stigmatized,” the NRW Prime Minister continued. “I introduce myself to the people in Gütersloh.”
Laschet said that he had telephoned Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) several times. He has assured that people from Gütersloh are welcome if they have been tested for the corona virus. “I also expect from the federal states in northern Germany that we come to such regulations and that we can overcome this crisis together,” said Laschet in the briefing of the state parliament. Outside of those employed in the meat industry, only a small number of cases are known to date.
„Lockdown soft oder Lockdown light“
In Bavaria, accommodation providers are no longer allowed to accept people who come from a district where the number of new infections in the past seven days has been more than 50 per 100,000 inhabitants. Lower Saxony also no longer wants to accept people from Gürterloh. In the Gütersloh district, this value is well over 50. There should only be exceptions for those who could present a current negative Corona test.
Since midnight, strict requirements have once again been in place in the Gütersloh district and the neighboring Warendorf district. A total of around 640,000 residents are affected. In the Gütersloh district, the Tönnies plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrück was the starting point of the outbreak, and many Tönnies employees also live in the Warendorf area.