Latest Issue

Medical employees demonstrate testing at a coronavirus test centre for public service employees in Munich, Germany © Matthias Schrader/AP/Shutterstock

Inside Germany’s Covid-19 testing masterclass

Britain is patting itself on the back over testing—after the peak has passed. How many lives could have been saved by taking the German approach from the off?

When I reached Dr Rainer Schwertz, in Heidelberg, he expressed something that has been in short supply from nearly everyone in the UK: honest hope that the Covid-19 crisis may be under control. “For four weeks here we have had more recoveries from Covid-19 than new cases,” he told me. Schwertz is head of the public health department in the Rhein-Neckar district of Germany, a local administrative region of over 600,000 people, which includes the city of Heidelberg. Germany has been lauded for its response to the coronavirus crisis, moving quickly with an aggressive track-and-trace strategy that appears to have stalled the outbreak and prevented it from overwhelming the health system—as I write, Germany’s death rate, adjusted for population, is less than a quarter that of the UK.

The response that Schwertz and his deputy, Dr Andreas Welker, outlined to me is surely a big reason why.…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect