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Merkel’s latest pandemic challenge: as-footed duck

Berlin-a year will be different.

In late March 2020, Chancellor Angela Merkel (Angela Merkel) was able to explain the science behind the coronavirus pandemic and inspire the ability of German national leaders to establish a national strategy covering deaths in terms of testing and contact tracing. Won the praise of the whole world in the Gulf.

Now, Ms. Merkel finds herself apologizing to the public for a set of confusing and ever-changing regulations, and is snarling national leaders who are eager to rest the weak public, even as the dangerous third wave of viruses sweeps the country The same is true at times. To make matters worse, the national vaccination campaign is still stalled in the bureaucracy and is blocked by insufficient supplies.

Only nine months have passed since Merkel’s fourth and final term of office ended-the Germans voted for the new government on September 26-this is due to the ability to keep a cool head and be solution-oriented in a crisis. And the world-famous minister of finance. Her biggest challenge so far is: as foot duck governance.

As a result, the highly analytical political style that has served her in the past—reading public opinion polls and developing strategies centered on getting support in the next round of voting—has been affected. Analysts said that this weakness not only left a vacuum in the prime minister’s office, but also caused the country to drift when it needed strong leadership and clear communication.

“Angela Merkel thought about everything until the end, but with a few months left in her final term, there was no final goal,” Lüneburg University (Leuphana University Lüneburg) Said Michael Koss, professor of political science. “The end is the September election.”

Ms. Merkel’s troubles can be seen in her recent attempt to tighten restrictions on the coronavirus, closing businesses and restricting gatherings during the Easter holidays. Her plan, approved by the local governor, was directly criticized by the public and business leaders. After only 36 hours, she cancelled the idea and took responsibility for the error.

Although this move has won widespread respect from politicians, it has a small impression on the public, who have been trying to understand the complex blockade, rules and reopening system. Four weeks ago, a clear majority (52%) of Germans said they thought the government had done a good job in responding to the pandemic, but according to regular political investigations, only 38% of them were still approved by the end of last week.

Uwe Jun, a professor of political science at the University of Trier, said: “We have seen a great loss of people’s trust in the government, and Merkel does not want to accept this.” “Through an apology, she wants to convey a signal that she is still responsible and that she can be trusted. , And a signal that she hopes to continue working hard to get the country through this pandemic.”

A few days after apologizing, Ms. Merkel appeared on the Sunday evening talk show on the country’s leading public television station ARD-Jun pointed out that the move was made at the request of the Prime Minister, and only if she felt it Do this only when you need to be in contact with the public. But she did not make specific suggestions to replace the five-day Easter lockdown order. Instead, she apologized again and accused the states of laxity.

Jun En said: “She needs to make specific suggestions about what she wants now and what she is planning.”

One of the reasons that the Germans are vocal about is the country’s vaccination program. The vaccine was launched in late December, and each state was required to establish its own vaccine center, but the start was slow, mainly due to a shortage of delivery-this situation caused an uproar in Germany, where the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was developed.

On Tuesday, Germany announced that it would suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for young people under the age of 60 due to concerns about blood clots. This added chaos to the vaccination campaign and caused criticism of its overreaction. The European Union’s medical institutions and the World Health Organization say that cerebral venous thrombosis and blood clots in the brain cause bleeding is very rare, so they are not considered to be the basis for changing the injection method.

But even if there are enough vaccines, some Germans may be entangled by the bureaucracy. One of them, Laura Buttkereit, a clinical expert who works with surgeons in the operating room, said that because she signed her name, she was refused to shoot.

She said: “They sent me away because my boss should make an appointment for me.”

Of the Germans surveyed this month, 92% said that Germany’s immunization campaign is not progressing well. There are reports that immunization centers in many states will be closed during public holidays during Easter, which aroused people’s outrage, although the authorities said this was because there was not enough supply to keep them open.

BioNTech said it will increase its vaccine production to 2.5 billion doses in Europe, but because the waiting time for the first injection is as long as two months, the promise will not slow the effect of the virus in the next few weeks.

Ms. Merkel has been unable to recruit her vicious governors (many of whom have already campaigned) to support a nationwide lockdown, and medical experts say that Germany needs to implement a nationwide lockdown, and such a lockdown was the first in the United Kingdom. See, it is a highly spreadable variant. According to the “New York Times” database, as of Wednesday, the seven-day average of new virus cases was about 17,140, ​​which was similar to the level in late January.

Dr. Ralf Bartenschlager, a molecular virologist at Heidelberg University, said in a panel discussion at the German Association: “Although people don’t want to hear it, what we need is to limit the number of new infections.” A virologist.

Although the government’s communication during the first wave of the pandemic was consistent and clear, in recent weeks, this clarity has given way to a series of restrictions based on the rise and fall of the number of people trying to follow.

Dr. Bartenschlager said: “How we get there is always discussed.” “The place where we encounter problems is to communicate with people.”

In an interview on Sunday, Merkel threatened that if national leaders ignore the need for more restrictions on operations, Merkel will concentrate power in the Chancellery.

Under the German post-war decentralized government system (a system established by the Allies in response to Hitler’s rule), a high threshold was set for such a move, which made it difficult for the Chancellor to travel the country without the support of the governor. A blockade is implemented within the scope. However, Congress can support this move by amending the law on public health in epidemics.

Even members of the opposition have stated that in this case, they will support strengthening the hands of the prime minister.

“The tug-of-war between state and federal leaders due to capacity disputes hindered subsequent operations,” said emergency physician Janosch Dahmen. “The problem is that the debate may take weeks or months, but we need to do that now.”

The prime minister plans to meet again with state leaders on April 12, although medical experts warn that if the country does not act quickly, the intensive care unit may exceed its capacity.

The Prime Minister sent Easter greetings through a weekly podcast, urging Germans to stay at home, take advantage of the free tests provided by many states, and hope for more vaccines.

“This should be a quiet Easter, in a small circle, reduce contact. I urge you to avoid all non-mandatory travel, we should always follow all rules.” Ms. Merkel said. “We will defeat this virus together.”

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