Germany: Expert looks at Merkel’s response to pandemic
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Angela Merkel was, at first, praised as a “champion” for flattening the first COVID-19 wave in Germany and was the envy of many neighbouring countries. However, an abrupt lifting of restrictions at the beginning of the year and a lack of modern technology for testing and tracing has meant the country is now suffering a third wave. Germany also joins France and other European countries that have paused the AstraZeneca vaccine over fears it causes fatal blood clots causing further delays to their rollout.
A video published by DW Politics analysed Angela Merkel’s handling of the pandemic in Germany and begun by saying the German Chancellor was praised in the beginning.
It explains that within Merkel’s party and the Government there were politicians who were torn whether to keep lockdown measures in place or to lift them as to not destroy the economy.
Germany’s health authorities were also praised for their work during the pandemic but have now “come under the spotlight” for being understaffed.
The staff are also equipped with old technology like fax machines according to the video.
Ms Merkel also faced opposition from federal state leaders/premiers who began lifting restrictions despite an “emergency brake” being agreed,
The brake would halt the rate of restrictions being lifted if a certain rate of infection was reached.
However, state premiers pushed ahead and ignored the agreements.
More recently, Germany joined other European countries in pausing the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine over fears it causes fatal blood clots.
AstraZeneca: Expert criticises Merkel and Macron
But the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the dose was “safe and effective” and urged countries to continue rolling it out.
As a result, vaccine hesitancy appears to be growing in Germany and AZ jabs sitting in storage are destroyed or remain unused.
While the desire for the vaccine appears diminished, those who actively seek the dose are suffering from slow regional rollouts.
Critics blame the federal nature of German politics as the reason behind this as some believe a centralised government body would take charge and distribute the vaccines quicker.
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But DW Politics point out when compared to its federal and central government neighbour there appears to be a varied death rate among their population.
They say that strong policy and leadership is more important that the governing structure that delivers it.
DW Politics concludes that Merkel and her party are on the defensive as the German population grow angry at their handling.
Germany’s election in September is forecast to be troublesome for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) as they lost two state elections which are seen as a key indicator for success nationally.
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