A German newspaper has expressed “envy” at Britain’s roadmap out of lockdown and criticised Angela Merkel’s handling of the country’s vaccine programme.
German daily Bild criticised chancellor Merkel on Tuesday over her failure to secure the same results for her citizens.
The paper read: “Dear British, WE ENVY YOU! Simply HAPPY! This means: normal life is coming back! FREEDOM!”
It continued: “The successful vaccination campaign makes it possible.
“Most recently, the British inoculated around 360,000 units per day (Germany: 140,000). A total of 17.7 million British people have already received at least one vaccination (Germany 3.4 million).”
The paper then attacked Merkel after she told the country she would not be able to guarantee re-opening the economy in March due to new variants in circulation.
The newspaper wrote: “In plain language: The chancellery does NOT want any large openings in March.
“And this even though the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has come to encouraging findings in a new step-by-step plan paper.
“The RKI experts rate the risk of infection in primary schools and restaurants as ‘moderate’, in retail and hotels as ‘low’.
“If the chancellery has its way, this would change little about the lockdown – for an indefinite period of time.”
This comes after the British prime minister announced plans to lift England out of lockdown by mid-June – with the first round of easing to start on March 8 with children returning to school.
Germany, like the rest of the EU, has seen its vaccination efforts affected by a cut in vaccine supplies by AstraZeneca.
An EU official said the pharmaceutical company had told the EU it expects to deliver less than half the COVID-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply in the second quarter.
The expected shortfall follows a big reduction in supplies in the first quarter and could hit the EU’s ability to meet its target of vaccinating 70% of adults by summer.
AstraZeneca did not deny the claims but a statement late in the day said the company was striving to increase productivity to deliver the promised 180 million doses.
The company is not currently exporting vaccines made in the United Kingdom, in line with its separate contract with the British government.