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German parliament ‘granted exemption’ to keep six months Covid recovery status

For people in Germany, Covid 'recovery' status has been restricted to infections that occurred in the past three months - but according to media reports, a different rule applies to parliamentarians while in the debate chamber of the Bundestag.

Martin Sichert (AfD) speaks in a debate on Covid rules
Martin Sichert (AfD) speaks from the visitors' gallery in a debate on Covid regulations in January. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

According to reports in Zeit, and other German media, MPs working in the German Bundestag can use their Covid ‘recovered’ status for up to six months in the debating chamber of the Bundestag.

A parliamentary spokesperson told the news site that the law that dictated the Covid rules in the federal parliament referred to the Covid-19 Protective Measures Exemption Ordinance.

“At the time the general order was issued, it provided for the period of 28 days to six months after infection, which continues to apply,” they confirmed. 

Since January 15th, the period of time in which somebody counts as ‘recovered’ from Covid has been halved from six months to three for the general public.

The rule change has meant that many unvaccinated people have suddenly found themselves relying on negative tests in order to access ‘3G’ venues, in which proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test must be presented, or 2G venues, which are restricted to people who are vaccinated and recovered. 

READ ALSO: Covid ‘recovered’ status only valid for three months, says German Health Ministry

Had the same rule applied to the Bundestag, the change in the recovered status would have had a particular impact on MPs in the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, many of whom are either unvaccinated or prefer not to discuss their vaccination status in public. 

In the plenary hall, where debates and votes take place, the 2G-plus rule applies, meaning MPs who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered have to sit in the visitors’ gallery.

Recently, more than 20 AfD MPs moved to this part of the Bundestag, which has been nicknamed the “epidemic gallery” due to the fact that a number of anti-vaccination politicians currently sit there. 

In October, AfD parliamentary group leader Tino Chrupalla was infected with Covid, swiftly followed by co-faction leader Alice Weidel in November. 

Under the current Bundestag rules, both still qualify as ‘recovered’, though Chrupulla would be excluded from the category in most other workplaces and public spaces in Germany due to the fact that his positive PCR test was taken more than 90 days ago. 

Member comments

  1. Maybe one Friday night there should be an accidental fire there, so we can hurry things along and Sholz can make himself Führer.

    Could this not be seen as a way to segregate people that have different views. I bet he can’t wait to just, disappeared the dissenters.

  2. Do I have this right? They are having a debate on a vital topic, one that will effect personal freedom, one in which 60% of Germans say the country is dividing, and the MPs on the other side of the debate are not permitted to speak? Seriously, do I have this right?

    1. They are not permitted in the chamber.
      From the photo. It looks like they have a mic up there. But how they would be able to vote is unclear.

      The Bundestag also not giving documents over to the AfD for debate on the vaccine mandates.

      1. I’m struggling to understand how this is even remotely constitutional. Clearly, people voted for the people who are not allowed in the main chamber and those people should be represented (whether I or anyone agrees with their politics is not the issue). This does not feel democratic to me in the least… and actually not too smart on the part of the majority. Long Term, I mean. Won’t a vote on anything from now on somehow be or at the least feel delegitimised?

        1. I can’t say how or if they can vote as I do not know.

          Its on par with everything this administration has done thus far.
          Yes. It appears to me that Sholz wants to lead as one of his predecessor did.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

It's official - people in Germany will get cheap public transport for three months this summer after the €9 ticket was approved.

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

As part of a host of energy relief measures to cushion the cost of living crisis, the German government is offering cheap public transport for the months of June, July and August. 

Monthly tickets will be available at a price of €9 (or €27 for all three months) and they will allow people to use all buses, trains and trams in local and regional transport throughout the country.

So even if people buy the ticket in Munich, they will also be able to use local and regional buses, trains and trams elsewhere in Germany, whether it’s Hamburg or Cologne. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

The ticket will not be valid, however, on long-distance transport such as ICE trains or Flixbus.

The offer was put together by the coalition government – made of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the FDP.

The Bundestag voted for the initiative on Thursday, agreeing to give federal states a subsidy of €2.5 billion to fund the project. 

And on Friday, the Bundesrat – the upper house of parliament that represents the states – gave the green light to the ticket, paving the way for it to begin on June 1st. 

States had wanted an extra €1.5 billion funding boost to deal with lost revenue, however it would have been hugely controversial if they had blocked it.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

During a debate on Thursday, federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said the €9 project was “already a success”.

“All of Germany is talking about local public transport,” he said, adding that it is also being viewed with interest abroad. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 ticket

The Left party (Die Linke) voted in favour of the €9 ticket, but leader Bernd Riexinger said he thought the plan didn’t go far enough. “Three months is simply too little,” he said.

The opposition, however, slammed the move. Christian Democrat Michael Donth called it an “expensive experiment”.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn will offer the ticket for sale as early as Monday. Local public transport providers across the country are also preparing their ticket machines for the initiative. It will also be available in travel centres.

People with subscriptions to local transport will automatically benefit from the offer. 

In some regions, such as Stuttgart and Freiburg, the ticket is already available for purchase.

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin

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