Vaccine Checks Begin on German Trains, Trams and Buses

Passengers will have to show proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid or a negative daily test under a system of random checks.

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German public transportation controllers start checking vaccine papers.

A tram in Berlin in August. Public transportation passengers in Germany are now subject to spot checks of their vaccination status.Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Nov. 24, 2021, 7:03 a.m. ET

Tickets! Vaccination passes! Covid tests! Starting Wednesday, ticket inspectors on public transportation networks in Germany began conducting random checks of passengers’ proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid or a negative daily test, as Germany confronts a worrying rise in its caseload.

Masks have been mandatory on public transportation since the early days of the pandemic, but transportation providers — and the current minister of transport — have pushed back against calls to require passengers to show proof of immunity to ride.

The decision to take the extra step was made last week when Parliament voted on a law proposed by the parties that are poised to take over the government after September’s election. The law also stipulates similar rules for the workplace.

20,000

40,000 cases

Feb. 2020

Mar.

Apr.

May

Jun.

Jul.

Aug.

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan.

Feb. 2021

Mar.

Apr.

May

Jun.

Jul.

Aug.

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

7-day average

53,114
Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The daily average is calculated with data that was reported in the last seven days.

On Tuesday, German health authorities registered 66,884 new cases, a daily record, and the country’s Covid death toll is nearing 100,000.

Documents will be checked at random, mostly by people responsible for checking tickets, although the police can be called in to help. Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national railroad, said it would aim to run spot checks on 400 of its routes every day.

Children younger than 6 and schoolchildren, who are tested for Covid several times a week with their classes, are excluded. Other riders must prove either that they are fully vaccinated, that they have recovered from the disease less than six months ago or that they have a negative test result from an official testing site that is less than 24 hours old.

Initially, those who are caught without any of those documents will be asked to disembark at the next stop. Eventually, fines of up to a several thousand euros could be levied.

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