Germany’s top-selling newspaper has hailed the UK’s COVID vaccine rollout success and its plans to lift lockdown, announcing on its front page: “Dear British, we envy you.”
The article in the tabloid paper Bild says Brits “are reacting with overwhelming euphoria” after Boris Johnson revealed plans to gradually lift all restrictions by 21 June.
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It used figures from 21 February showing the UK had given 17.7 million people at least one vaccination, with Germany lagging behind on 3.4 million.
“While the British are already planning their summer vacation, Germany is stuck in lockdown,” the article added.
It comes as Angela Merkel warned of a third wave of coronavirus.
The chancellor said new variants of COVID-19 meant Germany – which was widely praised for its response to the pandemic during 2020 – must proceed carefully to avoid another nationwide lockdown.
Ms Merkel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “Because of (variants), we are entering a new phase of the pandemic, from which a third wave may emerge.
“So we must proceed wisely and carefully so that a third wave does not necessitate a new complete shutdown throughout Germany.”
Earlier this week, the German leader called for a staggered plan to lift coronavirus restrictions – to be linked with increased testing.
According to reports, she wants to reopen parts of society in three stages, starting with expanding the number of personal contacts, followed by schools and vocational schools, and thirdly sports groups, restaurants and culture.
Germany has extended restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus until 7 March, though elementary schools and nurseries started reopening in 10 German states on Monday and hairdressers are also due to open their doors again next week.
On Monday, Germany reported 4,369 new infections and 62 further deaths – well below the figures still being reported across the UK each day.
According to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic, Germany has reported 2,415,443 cases and 68,931 deaths overall.