Germany introduces mandatory health pass amid surge in Covid-19 cases

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In the past few weeks, Germany has seen a surge in the number of new coronavirus infections, which on Thursday resulted in the country reaching the grim milestone of 100,000 Covid-19 deaths. In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, authorities this week began requiring a health pass to go to work or use public transport. FRANCE 24’s Nick Spicer, Anne Mailliet and Raphael Kominis report from Berlin.

At the Berliner Seilfabrik, a German playground equipment maker, the introduction of the health pass – which shows whether a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, tested negative against it on the day, or recently recuperated from a coronavirus infection – comes as a relief for many of the company’s 130 employees. Last year, two of their co-workers died from Covid-19.

“I think for sure it’s safer,” said Christian, one of the workers. “It’s not comfortable for the unvaccinated – they have to get tested every day – but we can’t do otherwise to control the pandemic.” 

For David Kohler, the company’s managing director, the pass is helping him keep the workplace safer. Eleven employees are still unvaccinated.

“Now we are able to ask them for their status,” he said. “They still can refuse to answer if they got vaccinated, and if they are not vaccinated they have to show us a daily test, or official test results that they are negative.”

The same rules apply to use public transport. Many Germans are in favour of the measures.

“As long as we can’t force people to vaccinate, we have to tighten restrictions. Otherwise, no one will be able to go to work, and the economy will crash,” Marielle, a Berlin resident, said.

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