German court orders end to coronavirus lockdown around meat plant

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A German court has ended a local lockdown imposed to tackle a coronavirus outbreak at a slaughterhouse, ruling that the restrictions were disproportionate.

The top administrative court in North Rhine-Westphalia state ruled that the lockdown slapped on all of Gütersloh district last month wasn’t justified anymore.

It found that the lockdown placed an unfair burden on citizens and could be more targeted, given that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases varied greatly across the area.

The judges agreed with a local company that had argued their businesses were in parts of the county that hadn’t recorded many cases and should therefore not be subjected to the restrictions.

The ruling came just as the lockdown in Gütersloh was due to be reassessed by local politicians.

Some in Germany now fear it could pave the way to further legal disputes with authorities if they impose new lockdowns in the face of resurgent coronavirus cases.

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