Thu, 02 Dec 2021

BERLIN, Germany: People wishing to take a bus or train in Germany may soon be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, vaccination or recent recovery, as the country is considering drastic measures to curb a new increase in cases spreading throughout Europe.

On Monday, Germany reported another record number of cases, as more people attend indoor gatherings and a slow down in vaccinations have again made Europe the pandemic's epicentre.

The current fourth wave is posing a challenge to the current transitional government, which comprises three parties negotiating to form the next cabinet, after September's inconclusive election results.

On Monday, the centre-left Social Democrats, Greens and pro-business FDP announced harsher measures will be added to their draft law under consideration by the German parliament, the Bundestag, aimed at dealing with the current surge.

According to a policy document released by the three parties, their "3G" rules requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test, recovery or having been vaccinated, should apply to public transport and workplaces, but it is unclear how these rules would be enforced.

"To quickly and forcefully break the fourth wave, we have agreed on further rules," tweeted senior Green legislator Kathrin Goering-Eckardt, who told reporters that no agreement was reached on compulsory vaccinations in some sectors, such as senior care homes, highlighting a division in the coalition.

Germany's potential move came as Austria's government, on Monday, imposed a lockdown on unvaccinated people, while other European countries require passengers to provide proof of vaccination or tests for long-distance travel on public transport.

The Bundestag is due to vote on the draft law on Thursday, meaning it could come into force before the end of Germany's state of emergency on 25th November, which provided the legal basis for previous pandemic measures.

As infection rates differ considerably across the country, the new law also aims to enable Germany's 16 states to adopt local restrictions.

With 67 percent of Germans being fully vaccinated, the country's vaccination rate is among the lowest in western Europe.

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