In Brief: Free COVID-19 tests offered in lower Bavaria after outbreak on vegetable farm

At least 174 harvest workers tested positive for the coronavirus over the weekend.

Photo by: Markus Spiske, Unsplash

By Sylvia Cunningham and William Glucroft

Updated Tuesday, July 28 at 4:30 p.m.

The Bavarian state government is offering free COVID-19 testing to thousands of residents in lower Bavaria following an outbreak on a vegetable farm there this weekend.

At least 174 harvest workers tested positive for the coronavirus, leaving the entire operation now under quarantine.

In response to the outbreak, Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder told reporters on Monday that there would be more spot inspections on farms to make sure companies were following the required hygiene concepts.

The Christian Social Union (CSU) leader also announced fines for those that violate the rules would increase five-fold from 5,000 to 25,000 euros.

Critics from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) blamed Soeder over the weekend for not preventing the outbreak, saying he and his state government failed to ensure working and living conditions for harvesters were safe.

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Meanwhile, amid fears of a second coronavirus wave in Germany, free COVID-19 tests will soon be available at Berlin’s Tegel and Schönefeld airports for those returning from high-risk countries.

Tests remain voluntary, though public officials are split on whether to start requiring them.

Berlin’s Health Senator Dilek Kalayci told public broadcaster ZDF that mandatory testing presents privacy and legal issues.

She said such a requirement could be possible only after Germany’s federal health ministry clarifies those concerns, which are currently under review.

Germany’s disease prevention authority classifies as many as 130 countries as high-risk for COVID-19. EU member states are not in this group.

Check here for up-to-date information regarding the management of COVID-19 in Berlin.

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The 24-year-old driver who crashed his car in front of the Zoologischer Garten train station this weekend was released from custody yesterday, though an investigation is still ongoing.

The man drove onto a sidewalk around 7:20 a.m. on Sunday, injuring six people. Police say he had a blood-alcohol level of .07%, which is above the legal limit for drivers.

Three of the people injured in the crash are still in intensive care.

Police said on Monday they were dropping their initial investigation into the driver on suspicion of attempted manslaughter.

The man will still be investigated for “dangerous interference in road traffic.”

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