Germany third-wave predicted to be ‘worst yet’ with hospitals at breaking point in April

Germany: Third wave could be worse than first two says expert

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Angela Merkel was warned by medical professionals – including Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn – that a national lockdown was needed in the country to tackle a new coronavirus wave. Doctors warned that hospitals could reach “breaking point” in April as daily cases could more than double. But Ms Merkel has threatened to centralise power in the federal nation as German state leaders continue to bump heads with the chancellor over introducing “emergency brake” lockdowns. 

Ms Merkel was warned that without tight and drastic measures, Germany was on course for its worse Covid wave yet. 

Health Minister Jens Spahn said during a conference: “If we look at the numbers, we need 10-14 days at least of properly driving down contact and movement. 

“A lockdown if you want to call it that.”

Ms Merkel only recently reversed a decision to introduce a lockdown over Easter after she faced tough opposition from local leaders and citizens. 

Nearly all shops and gatherings would have been banned between April 1-5 but the move was U-turned a day after its announcement. 

Health officials added that Germany’s daily cases of 20,000 could skyrocket to 100,000 in April if nothing is done to curb the rise. 

Head of the Robert Koch Insitute, Lothar Wieler, said: “The indications clearly point to this wave being potentially worse than the first two waves. 

“We must be prepared for a steep rise in the number of cases, for more people to once again become seriously ill, for hospitals to be overburdened and that more people will die again.”

Mr Spahn added that if nothing is done the German healthcare system will “reach a breaking point in April.”

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But Ms Merkel faces opposition from federal state leaders with some refusing to implement “emergency brake” restrictions. 

The “emergency brake” was designed to slow down or stop the easing of restrictions should infections reach 100 per 100,000 people in Germany or in local states. 

But federal state leaders say the restrictions are extremely harmful to the local economy and have instead ignored the measures despite the rates now reaching 130 per 100,000 people.

State leaders have also been pushing to approve the Russian Sputnik V vaccine for use in Germany as a way to speed up the vaccination programme. 

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It comes as the European Commission struggles to get Europe’s vaccination programme moving as vaccine hesitancy runs high amid disputes over AstraZeneca vaccine supply. 

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen threatened a vaccine export ban to countries with high vaccination rates which has split support in the EU and across the world. 

The UK and EU continue to clash over AstraZeneca supply despite European heads of state downplaying the effectiveness of the jab. 

It is believed that the AZ rollout pause earlier in March has damaged public perceptions and trust in the vaccine as a YouGov poll revealed the majority of citizens in France, Italy, Spain and Germany now believe the AstraZeneca vaccine is unsafe. 

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