Boris Johnson promises 'light ahead' as he plans to lift lockdown
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The Prime Minister announced this week a roadmap with set dates for the return to normality in the UK. The successful vaccination strategy employed by the British Government, thanks to the country’s departure from the EU, has allowed Mr Johnson to announce the UK will most likely return to pre-pandemic normality by June 21.
The news has sparked the envy of Europeans across the Brussels bloc, with German daily Bild blasting Angela Merkel over her failure to secure the same results for her citizens.
The newspaper sent an extraordinary message to Britain in a frank open letter published on Tuesday.
They said: “Dear British, WE ENVY YOU! Simply HAPPY!
“The British are reacting with overwhelming euphoria to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s (56) announcement that ALL corona restrictions will be gradually lifted by June 21.
“This means: normal life is coming back! FREEDOM!”
The paper acknowledged Britain’s heroic efforts in the procurement and deployment of coronavirus vaccines.
It explained: “The successful vaccination campaign makes it possible.
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“Most recently, the British inoculated around 360,000 units per day (Germany: 140,000).
“A total of 17.7 million British people have already received at least one vaccination (Germany 3.4 million).”
The German daily attacked Chancellor Merkel after she told the country she would not be able to guarantee any openings for the month of March.
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Mrs Merkel warned new mutations of the virus currently spreading in Germany mean the government cannot afford to promise large openings in March only to shut the country down again a few weeks later.
The newspaper wrote: “In plain language: The Chancellery does NOT want any large openings in March.
“And this even though the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has come to encouraging findings in a new step-by-step plan paper.
“The RKI experts rate the risk of infection in primary schools and restaurants as ‘moderate’, in retail and hotels as ‘low’.
“If the Chancellery has its way, this would change little about the lockdown – for an indefinite period of time.”
Germany, like the rest of the EU, has seen its vaccination efforts affected by a cut in vaccine supplies by AstraZeneca.
An EU official said the pharmaceutical company had told the European Union it expects to deliver less than half the COVID-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply in the second quarter.
The expected shortfall follows a big reduction in supplies in the first quarter and could hit the EU’s ability to meet its target of vaccinating 70 percent of adults by summer.
AstraZeneca did not deny the claims but a statement late in the day said the company was striving to increase productivity to deliver the promised 180 million doses.
Under the EU contract leaked last week, AstraZeneca committed to producing vaccines for the bloc at two plants in the United Kingdom, one in Belgium and one in the Netherlands.
However, the company is not currently exporting vaccines made in the United Kingdom, in line with its separate contract with the British government.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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