- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 24, 2021

German inspectors on Wednesday will begin demanding proof of vaccination, COVID-19 recovery or a negative test on public transport as the country tries to mitigate a coronavirus surge that is gripping Europe. 

Conductors on Deutsche Bahn trains will randomly check documents and call in federal police if they have trouble with passengers who cannot show verification and refuse to get off at the next stop. 

Violators could face fines under the “3G rule,” which stands for “geimpft” (vaccinated), “genesen” (recovered) and “getestet” (tested). Children under the age of 6 are exempt from the rule.

The parliament approved the “get-tough” measures as Germany grapples with a precipitous rise in cases. The nation saw a record 66,884 cases on Tuesday, and is averaging over 53,000 reported infections per day compared to less than 1,000 per day in early July.

The COVID-19 death toll in the country of about 83 million is nearing 100,000.

Officials say the situation is particularly acute in eastern states such as Saxony, where the vaccination rate is lower than the national average. The situation is forcing popular Christmas markets to close.

Neighboring Austria has gone further in its efforts to stem the surge. It is imposing a 10-day lockdown, and said Austrians who refuse the vaccines as of Feb. 1 will be fined, making it the first Western country to propose such a drastic step.

The Biden administration on Monday said it has no plans to return to economic restrictions and will rely on vaccines and therapeutics to stem COVID-19 alongside tools like masking and testing.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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