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(IANS) A COVID-19 outbreak in a restaurant in the German town of Leer has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the strategy to reopen gastronomy venues in the country.

The federal state of Lower Saxony, where Leer is located, was the first to allow the reopening of restaurants with restrictions on the number of customers per table and with distancing rules between customers in the premises, Efe news reported.

There had been no new cases in the town for a week.

Seven new infections were detected this week, all of them believed to be linked to the same restaurant and another 50 people have gone into preventive quarantine. 

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A spokeswoman for the Federation of German Hotels and Restaurants (Dehoga) said in statements on Saturday to public radio station NDR1 that infection should not be possible with the hygiene plan in place.

Restaurants and bars were closed in Germany in mid-March and Lower Saxony was one of the first federal states to allow these premises to reopen on May 11.

There have been more than 179,700 confirmed cases and 8,200 deaths in Germany.