German foreign minister reveals how his country tackled coronavirus successfully

PUBLISHED: 12:18 26 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:51 26 April 2020

Andreas Michaelis, a German foreign minister, explains how his country was so successful tackling coronavirus. Photograph: BBC.

Andreas Michaelis, a German foreign minister, explains how his country was so successful tackling coronavirus. Photograph: BBC.

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A German foreign minister has revealed how his country has done better than other western countries in tackling the coronavirus crisis.

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Speaking to Andrew Marr, Andreas Michaelis said “widespread testing” and “early lockdown” were among the reasons why Germany has 66 deaths per million people, while the UK has 282 per million.

He told the BBC: “We could test from the very beginning at relatively high levels.

“We have now test capacity reaching 800,000, of which we only performed 450,000 a week, but we were able to test very early on, that is certainly an important aspect in this.”

Michaelis said German citizens can ask the authorities to be tested if they think that is necessary, either because of symptoms or because of contact with potentially infected people.

According to the minister, the fact that authorities react quickly to outbreaks by offering testing contributes to a high testing level and an efficient management of the crisis.

In addition, Michaelis thinks the investment Germany has made into the health system over the years is a key reason why the country’s death toll is so low.

MORE: Expert points out moment the UK stopped mirroring Germany’s approach to coronavirus

He said: “We had the right policy in the past. There are 40,000 intensive care units (ICUs) in Germany, 30,000 of which can be used for ventilators, and this is really a heritage of our health system.

“A lot of experts were criticising us for having too much capacity and expenditure on it. I think the people in Germany can now say that’s an extra capacity they are very happy to have financed in the past.”

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