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Merkel crisis: Government’s approval rating plummets as ministers turn to Putin for jab

Merkel and Macron 'undermining consensus' says expert

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The results of a new damning opinion poll come as Germany held talks with Vladimir Putin to ship the Russian Covid vaccine to the EU as hospitals in the bloc buckle under the strain of the third wave. The Chancellor has suspended the use of the British-made Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus jab in under 60s.

A recent survey carried out by Deutschlandtrend put the German government’s approval rating at just 35 percent – down from 70 percent in November.

Six in 10 (64 percent) said they were either “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with Berlin.

The research also revealed that less than one in five (19 percent) were happy with the government’s response to the pandemic, with 79 percent said failing to approve of the approach.

This is in stark contrast to the praise Mrs Merkel and her Cabinet ministers received last year.

As recently as December, public approval of the pandemic response hovered around the 60 percent mark.

As the public health crisis took hold last spring, Germany was lauded for its extensive testing program, robust healthcare system and its decision to implement an early lockdown.

But a year on, Germans as well as the international community appear sceptical of the government’s handling of the crisis.

The poll results come as the German government struggles to get on top of the vaccine chaos affecting the EU.

On Tuesday Mrs Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the Russian leader in a video call to discuss “cooperation” on Covid shots.

The EU, hit by a chronic shortage of vaccines, is keen to import massive amounts of the Russian Sputnik jab.

Once it is approved by regulators in the bloc, the shot could be administered across the 27 member states.

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On Friday the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that markets the Sputnik shot internationally said there were agreements with 20 manufacturers in 10 countries worldwide to produce the vaccine.

Speaking during a televised meeting with Mr Putin, Kirill Dmitriev said India and South Korea were already producing Sputnik V.

This week saw German authorities slap a ban on the AstraZeneca vaccine for under 60s.

The move was introduced after 31 cases of blood clots known as cerebral sinus vein thrombosis were detected in recipients of the jab.

Nine of the cases led to death while 29 occurred in women.

Britain was quick to dispel any suspicions of the vaccine, with Number 10 saying it was “safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives”.

On Friday the Netherlands followed suit by halting the use of the vaccine for under 60s, following the death of a woman who had received the shot.

The Deutschlandtrend survey was carried out from March 29 to 30.

A total of 1,348 took part in the questionnaire both online and over the telephone.

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