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Angela Merkel ally says UK coronavirus strategy has ’caused endless suffering’

Peter Altmaier - Credit: Olaf Kosinsky

A German minister has hit back at comparisons between the EU and the UK over coronavirus vaccines – by pointing to the death and infection rate in the country.

German economy minister Peter Altmaier – an ally of Angela Merkel – claimed there had been “endless suffering” in Britain because of the government’s handling of the pandemic.

He said Germany had handled it much better.

“I don’t want to compare with Great Britain. Their number of infections is far too high to this day, the death rate is significantly higher than ours. This has brought endless suffering to tens of thousands of families,” he said.

“So far we have come through the crisis much better in Germany.”

MORE: How Germany was able to flatten the curve

The remarks came as Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, rejected international comparisons over vaccines.

The EU leader compared the rush to deliver vaccines to the “space race” in the 1960s where every superpower wanted to prove itself.

Addressing students attending the online Warwick Economics Summit she likened the situation to the Cold War.

“When I was your age the world was still divided into two blocs. The superpowers fought to expand or maintain their sphere of influence. Well, this world is long gone. And yet the old confrontational mindset is back.

“Think of Covid-19 vaccines. Some countries view the search for a vaccine as a race among world powers, like the race for space in the 1960s.”

She added: “This is not a competition between Europeans, Russians, Chinese and Americans — this is too serious.”