Europe to end lockdowns for good by autumn: BioNTech CEO | News | DW | 21.03.2021

Visit the new DW website

Take a look at the beta version of dw.com. We're not done yet! Your opinion can help us make it better.

  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages
Advertisement

News

Europe to end lockdowns for good by autumn: BioNTech CEO

Ugur Sahin, whose firm developed one of the world's first coronavirus vaccines, believes Europe will have the pandemic under control by the end of this summer. It comes amid criticism of the EU's vaccination drive.

German scientists Ugur Sahin (L) and Ozlem Tureci (R) argue lockdowns will no longer be needed by the autumn

German scientists Ugur Sahin (L) and Ozlem Tureci (R) argue lockdowns will no longer be needed by the autumn

Europe will be out of lockdown with the coronavirus pandemic under control by this autumn, the founder of Germany's BioNTech said on Sunday.

Ugur Sahin, whose company developed one of the first vaccines in the fight against COVID-19, told the Welt Am Sonntag newspaper that he believed the latest shutdowns would be the last.

"In many European countries and the US, we will probably not need lockdowns by summer's end," he said.

"There'll be outbreaks, but they'll be background noise. There'll be mutations, but they won't frighten us."

EU vaccination drive trails other major nations

Sahin, who founded his firm with his wife Özlem Türeci, made his comments at a time when EU leaders are under fire for the bloc's relatively slow vaccination drive, compared to countries such as the US, the UK and Israel.

But he added the problems would prove temporary, insisting 70% of Germans should be vaccinated by the end of September.

Ozlem Tureci und Ugur Sahin

The husband-and-wife team have been honored for their work on coronavirus

The husband-and-wife team have been awarded Germany's Knight Commander's Cross for their contribution to fighting the virus.

Almost 9% of the German population had received at least one vaccine shot as of Saturday. 

Meanwhile, Britain passed the half-way point with 50% of adults having received at least one dose.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to find ways to speed up the country's inoculation drive, refusing to rule out buying up Russia's Sputnik V jab outside of the EU's joint purchasing scheme.

Watch video 00:23

Merkel: 'We will become faster and more flexible'

Merkel set to mull lockdown strategy

Merkel will hold talks with regional leaders on Monday to decide on whether to scrap plans to gradually reopen the economy as infection rates continue to rise.

German authorities say the incidence level is above 100 cases per 100,000 population over a week.

That is the threshold above which they say they must impose stricter distancing rules to stop the healthcare system from being overburdened.

Watch video 02:27

Germany's new reopening strategy gets cautious approval

Bavaria's conservative premier, Markus Soeder, a likely candidate to succeed Merkel as chancellor after the national election, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper that shutdown measures might need to stay in place for now.

"A false move now risks turning this third wave (of the virus) into a permanent wave," he said.

"We have a tool: the emergency brake. It must be applied strictly."

jf/sri (dpa, EPD, Reuters)