Germany and France seem unable to get rid of their coronavirus issues.
The Germans enacted another country-wide lockdown going through the end of June. It includes major restrictions on who families can come into contact with, unless it’s a custody exchange, along with another 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Joggers and walkers are allowed to go out until midnight as long as they’re by themselves. Shops can stay open but customers need to provide a negative COVID test and make appointments. They’ll have to do preordered goods if the virus incidence rate is above 150 in cities and districts. Schools are mostly closed to in-person legislation. From Reuters:
Germany is struggling to contain a third wave of infections, with efforts complicated by the more contagious B117 variant, which first emerged in the UK, and a relatively slow start to its national vaccination campaign.
“We need a timetable how to get back to normal life, but it must be a plan that won’t have to be revoked after just a few days,” [Finance Minister Olaf] Scholz told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
The federal government should be able to outline “clear and courageous opening steps” for the summer by the end of May, allowing restaurants to adjust reopening plans and citizens to plan holidays, he said.
Scholz said the steps would also clarify when visits to concerts, theatres and soccer stadiums would be possible.
Lawsuits have been filed over the new restrictions but it’s not known when German courts will rule on them.
France’s pandemic problems may be lessening a bit although ICU visits remain high. Schools re-open tomorrow but it’s not known when stores and restaurant finally get to see customers. Prime Minster Jean Castex said last week he hoped to see restrictions loosen in mid-May but noted it depended on what health issues had to say on the issue. At least the French can still watch Ligue 1 action even if they’re not allowed into the stands.
Part of the issue in both countries may involve the vaccine rollout. AFP reported only 22.6% of Germans received the vaccine while France’s stats are around 20.5%. Compare that to Malta with 47% and the UK with 63.9%. CNBC reported in January about Germany’s problems will getting the vaccine into arms citing issues with vaccine supply not being able to meet demand. Those issues appear to be continuing although the European Medicines Agency finally approved increased production of BioNTech/Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. EMA also approved production increases for the Moderna vaccine and Johnson & Johnson will be administered to some people in France. The AstraZeneca shot is also approved.
It’s here where the top-down approach to vaccine distribution completely fails. It’s no wonder the pandemic refuses to subside in Europe if government regulations and distribution prevent people from getting the shot. Why not let hospitals and doctors buy the vaccine from the supplier itself then handle distribution that way? That increases the ability for people to get an inoculation quickly and gives them more cost-effective options. This is fantasy among bureaucrats and some social commentators who see government as the best way to handle a crisis because they’re “our betters” and have more enlightening ideas on how to make sure everyone follows the same rules. Unless it applies to them, then they’re free and clear to behave however they want.
The slow vaccine rollout may end up causing the pandemic to last longer in Europe because it emboldens governments to keep restrictions in place. The EU is painting a rosy picture regarding herd immunity by July but it depends on when people are allowed to start living life normally, being around friends and family, traveling, and going into shops. It also depends on when they’ll be able to get an inoculation done. The only way to do that is to end this ridiculous government-apportioned handout and production.