Many European countries have attempted to crack down on the rapid rise in cases to hit their public with strong coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns. This has often sparked fury, with thousands of protesters taking to streets in France last weekend to demonstrate against the introduction of a Covid pass by Emmanuel Macron’s Government. Last week, Germany announced people who have received a Covid booster shot will not have to isolate after being in contact with someone who was infected with the coronavirus.
They are also exempt from stricter rules on dining out requiring a negative test result in addition to proof of vaccination or recovery to enter a restaurant or bar.
In England, Prime Minister Mr Johnson has so far resisted imposing strict conditions – despite the rapid rise of Covid infections which saw daily totals surge past the unwanted 200,000 milestone.
He has insisted there are no plans to return the country into lockdown, with Government ministers advising people to remain cautious, particularly in packed and enclosed public spaces.
But German federal health minister Karl Lauterbach, who is also a politician for the Social Democrat Party (SDP), has lashed out at the plan for England.
Referring to the loose Covid rules there, he told German broadcaster ARD: “I would never recommend such a strategy as in England.
“We have done well so far with the strategy that we have protected the people.
“If we had had the mortality of the British, more than twice as many people would have died in Germany.”
The SPD politician admitted such a strategy was possible in Britain, but also warned: “I think it’s wrong.”
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Several studies from around the world shows that with the surge in Omicron cases, unvaccinated people are a lot more likely to be put on ventilators, with the death rate exceptionally higher.
The SDP politician said: “Because the AstraZeneca vaccine was weak, the English – born of necessity – started boosting early.
Nearly nine in 10 of all adults in England have already been vaccinated, with Mr Lauterbach adding: “We’re not there yet because we started later.”
The health minister therefore declared: “I would never recommend a strategy like the one in England.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.