It became a habit. For almost a week, Willy has been going every evening after work to the test center near his home. This technician, an employee of the electrical operator Vattenfall, is neither vaccinated nor cured of the coronavirus, and must present his employer with a negative test daily. In the cold, this tall fellow in overalls, a cap on his head, waits about twenty minutes for the result of his antigen test, like ten other people.
→ REPORT Covid-19: in Germany, the pressure is increasing on the unvaccinated
“It’s like that every day. If I don’t do this test, I can’t go to work and I won’t be paid ”, he explains, grumpy. If vaccinated, this Berliner would be exempt from these daily nasal tests, but he refuses to do so. ” No way. I belong to “free thinkers”, he explains, referring to the name given in Germany to anti-vax.
To great evils the great means
Since November 25, the so-called 3G rule has been in effect throughout the country. Only people who have been vaccinated (vaccinated), immune (recovered) and tested negative (tested) can access their workplace. In case of refusal, they risk non-payment of their salary or even the loss of their job. As for employers, if they fail to check the health pass of their staff, they incur a fine of € 25,000. Telecommuting is also strongly recommended again.
This 3G rule, which has also been affecting public transport and train passengers for eight days, is the first measure taken by the new government majority, made up of social democrats, environmentalists and liberals. The future German government, which will take office next week, has also announced the creation of a crisis unit at the chancellery, headed by an army general.
Towards the vaccine obligation?
While the pressure is mounting on hospitals, the future Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the still Chancellor Angela Merkel were also to bring together the sixteen ministerial presidents of regions, Tuesday, November 30, in order to take additional measures. As of Monday, Germany recorded 50,000 new cases of Covid-19 and 390 deaths.
In the field, unions and employers’ representatives welcome the entry of this 3G rule in the workplace even if, at the start, they found it binding. “Most of our employees are vaccinated or immunized, explains Daniel Werdung, Airbus spokesperson in Hamburg. For them things are simple, but for the others we have set up a test center near the site. ” “Implementing this measure was a challenge. We had to adapt very quickly ”, he observes. Will this rule convince reluctant employees to get vaccinated to avoid these daily tests? This is obviously one of the objectives, whereas 30% of Germans are still not vaccinated.
Judged constitutional, the containment measures continue to divide
The German containment measures imposed last April are not contrary to German fundamental law, ruled the judges of the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on Tuesday, November 30. This decision comes at a key moment, in the middle of the fourth wave, when the political class is divided on the measures to be taken. If the new Christian Democratic opposition pleads for partial containment, the future government is divided. The future Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was in favor of compulsory vaccination, even if he “perceived that there were debates on this subject in the Bundestag, all parties included”.