The state’s Prime Minister, Armin Laschet, announced that the entire Guetersloh region, which hosts more than 360,000 people, will be locked over the next seven days.
Laschet said the new locking will reflect the measures implemented at the national level before the Covid-19 outbreak.
Group meetings are banned and schools, kindergartens, museums, restaurants, bars, swimming pools, gyms and other public places that have to close or largely limit the number of people allowed at any given time.
Meetings between different household members are limited to two people at a time. Stores will remain open, but only strict hygiene measures will be taken.
The facility has been closed since last week. All 7,000 local employees and their families were ordered to lock up, even if they did not test positive for the virus.
On Tuesday, these restrictions were extended to cover the entire region. “You must stay in quarantine,” Laschet said at a press conference Tuesday, adding that the police will implement the lock when necessary.
Although the outbreak has been limited to the factory so far, he said public health officials did not know how many people could contact an infected person in the past few days.
Local public health officials are now competing to control the outbreak with a comprehensive test and monitoring program.
According to the website of the region, everyone working at the factory has already been tested. Laschet said 100 mobile test teams are scanning the area to identify anyone who is infected.
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state in Germany, with a population of about 18 million.
From Monday to seven days, the entire state reported 1,860 new cases of the new coronavirus. This statistic shows that although the outbreak was severe, it has been largely limited to factories and workers to date.
Laschet said on Tuesday that only 24 cases of coronavirus have been detected outside the factory.
Germany has so far recorded 192,127 cases and 8,909 deaths related to new coronavirus rates, which are relatively low compared to other European countries.
The government was tasked with moving early in the pandemic and increasing the country’s testing capacity. German hospitals were even able to admit patients from other, more difficult European countries.