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ANGELA MERKEL

Almost two-thirds of Germans ‘unsatisfied’ with government’s Covid-19 management

One year after the first measures were put in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus, almost two-thirds of Germans are dissatisfied with Germany’s crisis management.

Almost two-thirds of Germans 'unsatisfied' with government's Covid-19 management
The empty centre of a shopping street in the Thuringian district of Greiz, which current has Germany's highest Covid-19 7-day incidence of 573.9. Photo: DPA/Bodo Schackow

In a survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of DPA, 34 percent were “very dissatisfied” and another 31 percent “rather dissatisfied” with the government’s handling of the crisis. 

By contrast, only four percent are “very satisfied” and 26 percent “rather satisfied”. Another five percent did not give any response. 

Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), on the heels of a controversy over his ministry’s involvement in a face mask procurement deal, received even worse marks than the cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) overall. 

READ ALSO: German health minister in spotlight over mask contract with husband’s firm

Only 24 percent of respondents are satisfied with his work, whereas another 69 percent are dissatisfied.

The German government had decided on the first restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March 2020. In a memorable televised speech at the time, Merkel called on the population to stand together to fight against the spread of the virus.

The acceptance of restrictions such as the closure of shops, restaurants and schools was still very high during the first coronavirus wave. 

In a YouGov poll in April 2020, 67 percent were somewhat or very satisfied with the government’s crisis management.

At the beginning of the second wave in October, the figure was only 57 percent, then only 50 at the beginning of February and only 48 percent in the last poll at the end of February. In the past three weeks, the acceptance of the government’s measures has once again deteriorated significantly. 

Now only 30 percent of respondents rate the government’s crisis management as rather or very positive.

READ ALSO: Is Merkel’s legacy in danger as Germany grapples with slow Covid-19 vaccine roll-out?

Dissatisfaction now predominates among voters of all parties represented in the Bundestag. It is particularly strong among supporters of the far-right Alternative for Germany (86 percent), the Left (76 percent) and the Free Democrats (73 percent).

They are followed by voters of the Social Democrats (63 percent), the Greens (62 percent) and Merkel’s Christian Democrats and Bavarian sister-party CSU (51 percent).

The data used was based on an online survey conducted by YouGov Deutschland GmbH, in which 2,059 people participated between March 16th and 18th. The results were weighted and are representative of the German population aged 18 and over.

Vocabulary

by contrast – dagegen

memorable/noteworthy – denkwürdig

worsen/deteriorate – verschlechtern 

to be based on something – auf (etwas) beruhen

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.

Member comments

  1. The government certainly only seems to have a hammer, as they only have one way to deal with the crisis. The delay of innovative solutions and functional expansion of contract tracing to this late in the game is already a losing proposition.

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COVID-19 STATS

German hospitals see Covid staff shortages and rising patient numbers

A wave of Covid infections in Germany is causing staff shortages as many people call in sick and isolate - including in hospitals. The number of Covid patients in intensive care is also increasing slightly.

German hospitals see Covid staff shortages and rising patient numbers

Covid-19 infections are sweeping through the country this summer. On Tuesday, Germany reported 147,489 Covid cases within the latest 24 hour period, and 102 deaths.

The number of seriously ill Covid patients in intensive care units in Germany rose to 1,000 on Sunday, and 1,062 on Monday, according to the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine (DIVI). The number of ICU patients hasn’t been at this level since mid-May.

At the last highest point – in December 2021 – just under 4,900 seriously ill patients were being treated with Covid-19 in ICUs, after which the figures dropped with phases where they plateaued. 

And now the increasing staff shortages – due to people getting Covid and having to isolate – is causing growing concern among hospitals and doctors, especially as experts believe it will get worse after summer. 

“We are receiving reports from all federal states that individual wards and departments are having to be closed, due to a lack of staff,” the head of the board of the German Hospital Association (DKG), Gerald Gaß, told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

At times, emergency admissions are also being cancelled at rescue coordination centres. “This situation worries us considerably with a view to the upcoming autumn,” said Gaß.

READ ALSO: German politicians clash over Covid rules for autumn

Infection figures have risen sharply in recent weeks. The 7-day incidence on Tuesday stood at 687.7 infections per 100,000 people, but experts believe many cases are going unreported. 

“Although the occupancy rate in intensive care is only rising moderately, it is relatively high for a summer, and the beds available are becoming fewer and fewer due to the shortage of staff,” the scientific director of the ICU registry, Christian Karagiannidis, told the Düsseldorf-based Rheinische Post on Tuesday.

He said clinics and hospitals should work to allocate capacity across the country.

“This includes regional networks for the best possible distribution of patients by level of care,” he said. “Cooperation, but also relieving the burden on staff, will be the order of the day this autumn and winter,” said Karagiannidis, who also sits on the government’s council of experts team.

Germany’s Covid-19 rules still require that people who get Covid isolate for at least five days or a maximum of 10 days. The rules differ from state to state on how people can end the quarantine period. But health and care workers need to have a negative Covid test (PCR or antigen) taken five days into isolation at the earliest before they can return to work, plus a prior 48-hour symptom-free period.

READ ALSO: The Covid rules in place across German states

The German Foundation for Patient Protection rejected a demand to shorten the quarantine period. Wolfgang Kubicki, vice-chairman of the FDP, had proposed people should be able to take a test after only three days to leave isolation.

This “fuels the uncontrolled spread of corona”, said Eugen Brysch, Chairman of the foundation. “That is why the isolation period for corona-positive patients must be extended to 10 days,” Brysch recommend, adding: “This may only be shortened if a PCR test is negative.”

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