German government split on whether to impose mandatory tests for train travel

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected] • 30 Aug, 2021 Updated Mon 30 Aug 2021 12:31 CEST
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German Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said that he is committed to implementing the so-called 3G test regime for Germany’s long-distance rail service, but cabinet colleagues oppose the move.

Speaking on Sunday, Scholz said that “it is my desire and that of the Chancellor that this be made to work.”

Setting up a 3G system - standing for genesen (recovered), geimpft (vaccinated) and getestet (tested) - for trains would reduce the risk of the virus spreading in the often packed carriages, advocates say.

Currently passengers on trains have to wear face masks at all times but are not subject to testing requirements.

But the proposal to sharpen the rules on the tracks has split opinion in the German cabinet.

An internal paper from the Transport Minister concluded that it would be “practically impossible to implement.”

The 3G system has so far been set up at the entrances to indoor events such as concerts and football games, where security staff monitor entrance ways. But the doors to Germany’s trains are not controlled, meaning that assessing whether passengers have abided by the rules could prove tricky.

The Transport Ministry concluded that "control at boarding is impossible because of the short stopping times."

Further it found that “even if selective checks were carried out, violations of a 3G regulation could only be countered with the support of the federal police and/or the Deutsche Bahn security staff.” 

Train trade unions have also opposed the introduction of 3G on trains, saying that there aren’t enough security staff to help impose the rules on a nationwide basis.

Health Minister Jens Spahn made clear at the weekend that he was opposed to the move, telling Bild TV that “I don’t see it coming.”

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