Berlin (dpa) – Should the so-called 3G rule also apply to long-distance trains and domestic flights in the future? This is exactly what the federal government is currently checking in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, as government spokesman Steffen Seibert confirmed on Friday.
Previously, “Bild” had reported on plans by the federal government to grant access to long-distance trains and domestic flights only to people who have been vaccinated, convalesced or tested.
Everything must be done to contain the high number of corona cases, Seibert pointed out. Especially among young people between the ages of zero and 14, infection levels are currently high and in most cases they cannot even be vaccinated. The federal government is therefore examining whether the 3G rule can also be used in long-distance trains and in domestic air traffic.
So far, only international flights affected
In Germany, the 3G rule has so far only applied to international flights and in certain areas of public life – for example when visiting restaurants inside. He says only people have access to certain areas that can prove they have been vaccinated against Corona, recovered from Covid-19, or recently tested negative.
The model for the introduction of long-distance transport is France, explained Seibert. The 3G verification requirement has been in place since August. The controls take over from the railway staff.
But would this also be a feasible model for Germany? It was “one of the questions to consider,” Seibert said. A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry stressed that additional checks on trains were needed due to the mask requirement. He considers that it is “not entirely impossible” to be able to control the 3G rules on the train as well.
Passenger volume in the train almost halved
According to information from Deutsche Bahn, there were 81.3 million long-distance passengers even during the 2020 pandemic, up from 151 million long-distance passengers the year before. At first, the railway did not want to comment on the federal government’s plans.
A spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Transport said he wanted to “handle properly” the order from the federal government, but at the same time referred to different long-distance transport systems in Germany and France. While in Germany, for example, you can board a train without prior checking, there are more obstacles in long-distance transport in France – for example, a reservation requirement for TGV tickets and train checks. ‘access to the wagons. The system in France could therefore be more advantageous to verify 3G evidence.
The union criticizes the measures
Critics have come from within the ranks of the Union of Railways and Transport (EVG). EVG board member Kristian Loroch warned that pandemic measures must also be “enforceable and achievable.”
Proof of Corona obligation in long-haul traffic should not be carried out on the backs of employees, Loroch warned. The railroad wants to reduce the number of personnel on the trains, “which will already result in an increased burden on the employees.” In addition, the number of attacks on employees has “massively” increased, Loroch said. “3G control would make this situation worse and therefore unsustainable for us.”
The EVG had already stressed when introducing the mask obligation in trains that compliance with the rules was difficult to control.
The Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry (BDL) has also criticized considerations relating to domestic air traffic. The hygiene concepts established have been proven and would allow safe flying. “Such regulation for German domestic traffic would make mobility in Germany more difficult,” said Matthias von Randow, CEO of BDL.
In cross-border travel, the 3G obligation serves to prevent further introduction of the virus. You will be completely in control. “But the import risk does not justify any German domestic regulation.” Lufthansa, the largest provider of domestic flights, made no comment on Friday.
Virologist Streeck has doubts
Virologist Hendrick Streeck has doubts about the meaning of the proposed expansion of the 3G rule. Basically, he thinks the principle makes sense, Streeck explained on “Bild Live”. However, looking ahead to fall and winter, “trains or planes” would not become a “mass event”. This was also not the case last fall and winter.
There were “no major epidemics” on the trains, although there were no vaccines or rapid tests at the time, Streeck said. People are said to continue to be infected with the corona virus “mainly in private households”.
In contrast, support for the Berlin plans came from the Saar. In an interview with the “Rheinische Post”, Saar Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) said: “At the moment there are still too many unvaccinated people. When the 4th wave arrives in the fall, it will be all the more important to apply the 3G rules in air and rail. It is good that the federal government thinks about this in time before the onset of the cold season. At the same time, Hans spoke out in favor of exempting children from the obligation to provide evidence. For all the others, the check can then “be carried out automatically during the ticket check”.