Merkel chaos: German power vacuum causes COVID-19 response disarray as leaders bicker

4 mins read

Germany’s daily coronavirus cases hit 50,000 this week as the country undergoes its transitionary period from former Chancellor Angela Merkel to the next leader. But despite Chancellor-in-waiting Olaf Scholz urging leaders to introduce new measures to tackle the surge, the power vacuum left behind by Ms Merkel has left federal leaders bickering over what should be done to fix the problem. Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, Thorsten Lehr, suggested it could be likely Germany enters another lockdown as strong measures are needed to be taken to bring the cases down following their recent increase.

DW Chief Political Editor Michaela Kufnet believed Mr Scholz was “taking charge” as he it tipped to be the next Chancellor.

He told German politicians on Thursday: “We must take very many measures necessary to get through this winter. We must shelter our country from the winter.”

But while Ms Kufnet praised Mr Scholz for appearing more presidential, she warned there was “not enough coordination” to introduce restrictions to tackle the rising cases as Germany lacked direction.

Ms Merkel commented on the disarray and said federal leaders needed to come together and introduce a coordinated effort to tackle the virus.

Historically, the outgoing Chancellor has grappled with local leaders over introducing lockdowns and was forced to U-turn on an Easter lockdown after facing resistance.

Ms Kufnet added there was not “enough agreement to break this fourth wave” as leaders struggle to band together.

Professor Lehr commented on the rising cases and said: “Yeah, I would say currently we are facing a very horrible situation.

“So the numbers are increasing and our calculations say that if nothing happens, we would face the weekly incidences by the end of the month, which would be a way of above 400,000 and more in the region of 500,000.”

“But we definitely have to do more than just vaccination and I think at the moment it is very important that we really are going towards a lockdown or some very restrictive measures to really restrict the contact between people.”

Some European countries are seeing a surge in cases as vaccinations efforts decrease and boosters shots are introduced to maintain a defence against coronavirus.

Ms Merkel called the surge in Germany “dramatic” as some German hospitals say their ICU wards are full of COVID-19 patients

German virologist Christian Drosten urged German leaders for urgent action and warned a further 100,000 deaths could occur if nothing is done.

Mr Drosten remarked the 100,000 deaths was a “conservative estimate” during an appearance on an NDR podcast.

German figures suggest around 4.9 million people have been infected in Germany with 97,198 dead.

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