Another weekend continues the sustained protests throughout the streets of both London and Berlin as scores of people protest against a slew of lockdown restrictions.
The protests in Berlin are coming a month before a federal election. The leading candidates vying to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel have pledged there will be no return to the strict lockdowns of last year and earlier this year. The political realigning against overarching lockdown restrictions and medical segregation of society at needlepoint is a pulse check signaling the wider, public distaste of the overarching government edicts of the pandemic response.
Citing a ‘4th wave’ due to the Delta variant, German Health Minister Jens Spahn’s proposal to bar unvaccinated Germans from from restaurants, gyms and other facilities was called “unworkable” and risks undermining the public health campaign according to political opposition.
From October, people should be charged for antigen tests that until now have been available for free, he has said.
Reuters reports that German health authorities, in an effort to ‘nudge’ more people to get vaccinated, will stop offering free tests from Oct. 11, except for those for whom vaccination is not recommended, such as children and pregnant women.
Andreas Bovenschulte, the mayor of the northern city of Bremen, said the plans were irresponsible. “I think it is wrong and legally invalid to exclude those who are not vaccinated from public life,” he said.
The UK’s economic growth has slowed to a six-month low reported Reuters.
Companies have voiced concern that self-isolation requirements for contacts of people with COVID-19 have made it hard for them to find staff. In addition, starting in November, the government will require all those working in care homes to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Trust in public health and leadership in the UK plummeted after they collectively backtracked on early pandemic promises to never impose a vaccine passport upon the population. Downloaded by over 10 million people for basic services like booking GP appointments and accessing medical records, a the NHS app quietly become the de facto digital vaccine passport. Called the NHS Covid Pass, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated in July that proof of full vaccination would be a condition of entry for nightclubs and large venues by the end of September sparking backlash.
The Guardian reports that despite the return of gigs and festivals, the UK live music industry is still full of uncertainty due to a lack of clarification from the government about vaccine passports and an events insurance scheme that’s been described by some major concert promoters as unfit for purpose.
A recent leaked letter tells of hospitality leaders in the UK claiming ministers have ‘no idea what their policy actually is’ calling the the vaccine passport scheme “…rushed rhetoric without any thought to the implications, practicalities or ramifications”
In early August while addressing MPs, Prof Sir Andrew Pollard – who heads the Oxford Group – made headlines saying the vaccines did not stop the spread of Covid and calling the odds of reaching the threshold for overall ‘herd’ immunity in the population “mythical.”
“The Delta variant will still infect people who have been vaccinated. And that does mean that anyone who’s still unvaccinated at some point will meet the virus … and we don’t have anything that will [completely] stop that transmission.”