Majority of Germans have ‘lost faith’ in government’s Covid management

A survey by Spiegel reveals that almost two-thirds of Germans are dissatisfied with the traffic light coalition's management of the pandemic.

Karl Lauterbach (SPD), Federal Minister of Health, comments on the changes to the isolation and quarantine rules during a press conference at the Federal Ministry of Health.
Karl Lauterbach (SPD), Federal Minister of Health, comments on the changes to the isolation and quarantine rules during a press conference at the Federal Ministry of Health. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka

The last couple of months have been a torrid time for the German government in the Covid pandemic: plans for ‘Freedom Day’ were postponed amid backlash from the states, the vote on compulsory vaccination failed in the Bundestag, and Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) recently backtracked on plans to make self-isolation voluntary for people with Covid. 

READ ALSO: German parliament rejects over-60s vaccine mandate

It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that a survey by Spiegel reveals that almost two-thirds of a representative sample of the German population have lost faith in the government’s management of the pandemic.

Asked whether they had lost trust in Covid politics in Germany “as a result of the actions of the federal government in recent weeks”, 43 percent answered “yes, definitely”, and 20 percent answered “yes”.

Researchers interviewed a representative sample of 5,000 people between April 8th and April 11th. Survey participants were also asked to give details of their political views and affiliations. 

The loss of trust was strongest in supporters of the AfD (82 percent) and the CDU/CSU (72 percent) – the two largest parties on the opposition benches in parliament.

The survey also revealed a loss of faith in the Federal Health Minister, Karl Lauterbach.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister to target undecided in new Covid jab campaign

Asked how satisfied they were with Lauterbach’s Covid crisis management, only 29 percent answered “rather satisfied” or “satisfied”. In comparison, 57 percent were either “less than satisfied” or “completely unsatisfied”.

Respondents aligned with Lauterbach’s party – the SPD – proved to be most satisfied with the Health Minister’s work. Just over half (51 percent) of those who reported being “rather satisfied” or “satisfied” with Lauterbach’s handling of the pandemic were SPD supporters.

READ ALSO: ‘Mistake’: German Health Minister makes U-turn on voluntary Covid isolation

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”