May 24, 2020 - World

Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services

Man pinning up a sign for maximum occupancy

Restaurant owner in Frankfurt hangs up sign denoting maximum occupancy of 18 people. Photo: Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images

At least 107 confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been traced back to people who attended Sunday services at a church in Frankfurt, Germany, on May 10, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The mini outbreak illustrates how the virus can spread in large groups even with churchgoers observing social distancing and taking extra hygiene precautions.

  • German churches were permitted to reopen in early May, but services at the Evangelical Christian Baptist Congregation where the outbreak has been traced to will be canceled for the foreseeable future.
  • “This situation shows how important it is—especially during loosening of restrictions, which is now possible again—that we remain vigilant and do not become careless,” Kai Klose, the health minister for Hesse state, told the Journal. “The virus is still there and wants to spread.”

The big picture: President Trump on Friday declared places of worship in the U.S. to be "essential places that provide essential services" and threatened to override governors if they do not authorize houses of worship to reopen.

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