What Can We Learn From
Germany's Response to COVID-19?
- Medical Preparedness / Flexible Responses / Management of Public Funds-

Germany is said to be one of the most successful countries in the world in responding to COVID-19. In this paper, we look at the case of Germany, and attempt to identify points in the nation’s response that might be of use to Japan.

The first thing that should be noted is Germany’s medical preparedness. In Germany, intensive care capacity was well-established even before the COVID-19 crisis. The utilization of data such as the status of hospital beds has also been promoted, making it possible to provide severely ill patients with ICU spaces rapidly and effectively. In addition, medical institutions were offered incentives by the government to encourage them to significantly increase their number of ICU beds in order to respond to COVID-19.

Further, flexible cooperation between the federal and state governments and the reinforcement of the role of specialist institutions by the passage of legislation that encourages the utilization of scientific information allowed the early realization of infection prevention measures.

Nevertheless, although it can be judged that measures were put into effect in accord with the actual status of each regional area and a good balance with local autonomy was maintained, a certain amount of dissatisfaction is smoldering as a result of severe restrictions on the activities of citizens due to lockdown measures and additional state regulations.

We should also give attention to the fact that ensuring fiscal soundness prior to the crisis enabled bold and rapid expenditure of public funds. Compared to other European nations, Germany has experienced only a minor economic downturn, and the nation is flexibly altering its course to a focus on environment-oriented policies.

These German initiatives will certainly provide a significant reference for Japan as it responds to COVID-19.

Executive Vice President, NIRA/Chairperson, The Japan Research Institute, Limited
Ortwin Renn
Director, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies
Ansgar Lohse
Chairman, Department of Medicine, The University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)