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German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach: "We went too far with Covid restrictions"

We went too far with Covid restrictions, says Germany’s pro-lockdown minister

"Karl Lauterbach calls long school closures a ‘big mistake’ but said that caution meant the country suffered fewer deaths."

February 12, 2023 (Updated): Some Covid restrictions were “idiocy” and lengthy school closures were an "unnecessary mistake”, Germany’s lockdown chief has admitted.

Karl Lauterbach, who became the face of the pro-lockdown movement, said some regulations went too far.

“Much of what we did was right, but what was idiocy was the things like jogging with masks, or rules for outdoors. Those were excessive,” Mr Lauterbach said.

Mr Lauterbach, of Olaf Scholz’s ruling Socialist party, also conceded that too little attention had been paid to the wellbeing of children, describing school closures as “a big mistake”.

Germany was praised for its handling of the pandemic by heavily restricting people’s contacts and closing schools and kindergarten for weeks on end.

Image Above: Covid case numbers in Germany have been constantly low in recent weeks (Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images)

Before Mr Lauterbach was appointed health minister in late 2021, he became an influential advocate of strict lockdown measures as a backbencher.

Among his more controversial proposals was the suggestion made in 2020 to suspend regular schooling for at least a year.

“What was a mistake was the long school closures. That was unnecessary,” he told ZDF, the German broadcaster, on Friday.

As recently as April 2022, he was warning against lifting restrictions too quickly, saying that the country could be hit by a “killer variant”.

A trained doctor, Mr Lauterbach gained a wide following among the German public, but critics warned that his predictions were alarmist.

Transport mask mandate lifed

In recent weeks, with case numbers constantly low, Germany has finally lifted mask mandates on public transport and ended quarantine for those who test positive for the virus.

Several recent studies have shown the harm done to children by school closures and contact restrictions was much worse than previously thought.

However, Mr Lauterbach defended his record, arguing that Germany’s caution meant that it had made it through the pandemic with fewer deaths than countries such as France and the UK.

Pointing to official statistics that suggest that some 180,000 Germans have died owing to a Covid infection, Mr Lauterbach said: “That’s not a bad number. We would have been even better if there hadn’t been this constant politicisation of the measures.”

Source: The Telegraph


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