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‘More than half’ of Germans lose trust in government’s handling of pandemic

For the first time in the coronavirus pandemic, more than half of Germans hold a negative view of the government’s management of the crisis, according to a new survey.

'More than half' of Germans lose trust in government's handling of pandemic
A face mask lying on the ground in Duisberg on Wednesday evening. Photo: DPA

Just over half of those surveyed (54 percent) in an ongoing study felt that German politicians are overwhelmed by their duties, and hence not carrying them out as effectively.

This marks the highest percentage in the pandemic.  

In the summer, the figure stood at 40 percent, whereas it was 46 percent during the first partial lockdown in April 2020. 

The survey “The Fears of the Germans” has been regularly commissioned by Wiesbaden-based R+V Insurance for almost 30 years and is considered to give an overview of how people feel about politics, the economy, family and health. 

Most recently, on January 25th and 26th, around 1,000 adults between the ages of 16 and 75 were surveyed by opinion researchers.

For Manfred Schmidt, political scientist at the University of Heidelberg, the survey results show declining confidence in politics. 

Schmidt sees Germany’s continually extended shutdown, in effect since November 2nd, and the ongoing vaccine debate as likely causes. 

READ ALSO: 'Miracles are not going to happen': Row breaks out over Germany's slow Covid-19 vaccine rollout

It was a fundamental mistake, he said, to shift vaccine procurement to the EU level when national strategies focusing just on Germany would have worked better. 

Schmidt said that what was missing at the political level was the clear admission of mistakes from which lessons could be learned.

READ ALSO: Can Germany get on board with a 'no Covid' strategy?

Vocabulary

sensitivities – (die) Befindlichkeiten 

weakening – nachlassend

procurement/acquisition – (die) Beschaffung 

admit/acknowledge – eingestehen 

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

COVID-19 RULES

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now

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