France celebrates Bastille Day amid fears of coronavirus Delta variant

Hundreds of thousands of people set up appointments to get vaccinated before planned restrictions

Photo: EPA President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Armies Chief of Staff General Francois Lecointre (R) review troops prior to the military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue, Paris, 14 July 2021.

France is celebrating its national holiday on Wednesday with thousands of troops marching in a Paris parade and traditional parties around the country, after last year’s events were scaled back because of virus fears, news wires reported. This year those fears are still lurking, but the government decided to go ahead with the parade on the Champs-Elysees as part of a broader effort to return to pre-pandemic activity, AP noted.

The number of spectators is limited, and they are being restricted to a small section of the parade. In addition, each spectator must show a special pass proving they have been fully vaccinated, recently recovered from the virus or a negative virus test. Similar restrictions will be in place for those gathering to watch an elaborate fireworks show at the Eiffel Tower on Wednesday evening.

Leading the parade will be members of a French-led international force fighting extremists in Mali and the surrounding Sahel region. President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that France is slashing the number of troops in the region because of evolving threats.

Among others honored at the parade will be military medics who have shuttled vaccines to France’s overseas territories, treated virus patients or otherwise helped fight the pandemic.

Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of people in France on Tuesday rushed to set up appointments to get vaccinated against the coronavirus after the president warned that the unvaccinated would face restrictions aimed at curbing the quick spread of the Delta variant.

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