Last spring, at the start of the pandemic, Germany looked like a role model for how to deal with the viral threat. It was managing to contain #coronavirus outbreaks thanks to a high rate of testing and an advanced contact-tracing system. In mid-April, its case fatality rate for Covid-19 infections was less than 3%, compared with 14% in the UK and 13% in France, in spite of a lockdown that was softer than elsewhere on the continent. Levels of compliance were high, as were the government’s approval ratings.
Yet on Friday the head of Germany’s disease control agency warned that the country was heading for a third wave of the pandemic that was likely to be its worst one yet, while the government looked lost for answers, U-turning within 48 hours on a strict Easter lockdown plan without offering alternative restrictions in its place.