France Announces Compulsory Vaccination Against COVID-19
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced restrictions on people unvaccinated against COVID-19 in the country. In a televised address, he said vaccination was the only way to return to normal life as the country began to experience a rise in the incidence of the delta strain of the coronavirus. Among the new measures against COVID-19, Macron cited mandatory vaccination for health and care workers at risk and « health passports » that would be proof of immunity to the coronavirus and a pass to restaurants, trains and mass events.
Macron outlined a series of measures that will be introduced in the country to maximise vaccination coverage. Thus, there will be a « health passport » – a QR code or a certificate confirming that the owner has a negative test for the coronavirus, has been fully vaccinated or has recently suffered COVID-19. From 21 July this passport will be required for entry into leisure and cultural venues with more than 50 visitors, and from 1 August – in all establishments in France, including bars, restaurants, cafes and shopping centres, and when travelling on trains and planes.
From October, the French will lose their right to free PCR tests, which are carried out without a doctor’s referral. This is to « encourage vaccination rather than the multiplication of tests », Macron said. Vaccination campaigns will be rolled out to schoolchildren and university students in September. Authorities will step up anti-vaccination controls for visitors from at-risk countries. Compulsory vaccination against COVID-19 is being introduced for health and social services workers who work with people vulnerable to coronavirus. They must be vaccinated by 15 September.
The delta variant of coronavirus (detected late last year in India) accounts for more than half of new cases of COVID-19 in the country. Their number in France has risen by an average of 60% in the last week and is approaching 5,000 cases per day. At the same time, the number of hospitalisations and deaths is falling. France is « four weeks behind the UK », where the disease is on the rise, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Sunday. Around half of France’s population has received the first shot, but there are signs that the vaccination campaign is slowing down.