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WHO envoy says Germany needs 'Klopp effect' in COVID fight

January 30, 2021

Germany can draw inspiration amid the pandemic from soccer coach Jürgen Klopp, WHO official David Nabarro has suggested. He also said disagreements among lawmakers had galvanized opponents of lockdown measures.

Jürgen Klopp
Germany should use the Liverpool coach as in inspiration in its fight against the coronavirusImage: Imago Images/PA Images/A. Davyx

The COVID-19 representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday said Germany needed to summon the spirit of football coach Jürgen Klopp in its fight against the coronavirus.

In an exclusive interview with German news agency DPA, David Nabarro called on lawmakers to show more unity — and to take inspiration from the Liverpool coach.

To get everyone behind the coronavirus protection measures he said Germany needed a "Klopp effect" in reference to the former Borussia Dortmund trainer.

"Klopp knows how to touch people and bring people together," Nabarro said. "I'm sure he would have good ideas."

Why German coaches are the best

No end in sight, more unity required

On the one year anniversary of the WHO declaring the virus as a global health emergency, Nabarro said: "I expect it to go on for a long time, months. We're not close to the end, nowhere near."

But those protesting the lockdown are invigorated when politicians argue, the health official said.

"The group of opponents of coronavirus protection measures is small, but when politicians argue, it grows," Nabarro said. 

Germany - what happened?

Germany, he said, got off to a good start last year with rigorous protective measures but "Why haven't they maintained the thoroughness?" Nabarro asked.

"It's almost as if rich countries thought they could get through the pandemic without hard work." Europe could learn from countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Australia and New Zealand, he posited.

Squabbles, hoarding of vaccines, or a race to see who has vaccinated the most, has undermined the efforts to combat the spread of the virus, Nabarro said.

"The virus is an adversary of humanity, not of individual countries," he said. "This virus will defeat us if we are not united."

John Silk Editor and writer for English news, as well as the Culture and Asia Desks.@JSilk