An outbreak of coronavirus in a restaurant and in a Baptist church after the celebration of a religious service in Germany questioned the effectiveness of the unconfinement strategy for the gradual return to normality in the European country.

At least 40 people were infected during a religious service held in Frankfurt, in central Germany, health authorities in the region reported.

Most of the cases are mild and according to the director of the Frankfurt Health Office, René Gottschalke, only one person had to be transferred to a hospital.

The religious service was held on May 10, following the hygiene rules imposed by the authorities, and apparently not only people from that city, but also others from neighboring Hanau, caught it.

After hearing the news, Hanau canceled a Muslim celebration scheduled for today in a stadium while the Baptist community in Frankfurt suspended all religious acts and services, which since May 1 had been held again with restrictions.

These cases raise doubts about the relaxation of some of the measures imposed to combat the coronavirus, such as the opening of restaurants and cafes in various federal states, along with the reopening of kindergartens and schools.

Leer, in the federal state of Lower Saxony, was the first to allow the reopening of restaurants with restrictions on the number of customers per table and with distance rules between them at each location.

The decision was made after no cases were registered in the city for a week.

Now the cases of seven people have been announced, all of them allegedly infected in a restaurant and another 50 have been placed in preventive quarantine.

“It is an outbreak with various infections and many contacts,” the Leer Health Office said in a statement, which it believes cannot be discussed in an isolated case.

The seven cases, which are related to each other, were reported between Tuesday and Friday and it is not easy to follow the chain of contacts.

Leer district chief Mathias Grotte said “the outbreak clearly shows us that the coronavirus is still present,” the EFE news agency reported.

Grotte added that it is expected that the cases of people who have to go into quarantine will have extreme growth in the coming days.

A spokeswoman for the Federation of German Hotels and Restaurants (Dehoga) said in statements to Lower Saxony public radio, NDR1, that contagion should not be possible with the hygiene plan in place.

It is currently being examined whether in the restaurant in Leer customers or staff did not respect some of the hygiene rules.

Some experts had warned against visiting closed premises and, for example, the director of the Virology Department of the University of Rostock, in the east of the country, Andreas Podbielski, had been in favor of attending only on the terraces.

Restaurants and bars were closed in Germany in mid-March in the fight against the coronavirus.

Lower Saxony was one of the first federated states to allow the reopening and the premises in that state have been open since May 11.

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