France: Non-vaccinated health workers won't work from 15 September

Photo: EPA Bar customers watch President Emmanuel Macron's TV address to the nation, Paris, 12 July 2021.

French President Emmanuel Macron gave a televised address on Monday night and announced further measures to slow the spread of the more infectious Delta variant including plans to make vaccination compulsory for health workers, news wires reported.

Macron began his address by speaking about a surge in infections of the Covid-19 Delta variant in mainland France and its overseas territories, and urged French citizens to get vaccinated. "If we do not act today, the number of cases will continue to increase," he said.  Macron explained that the government was striving to achieve a 100 percent vaccination rate across the country.

Vaccination will become mandatory for all health workers. Macron urged them to be inoculated by 15 September, after which they could face potential sanctions or fines. Vaccination is a "matter of individual responsibility [...] but also a matter of our freedom", the president added.

France's health minister Olivier Véran said that non-vaccinated health workers won't receive a salary nor be allowed to work after 15 September He announced that a vaccination campaign for high school, secondary school and primary school students will begin when school starts again in September.

Among other measures, a curfew will be reinstated in the French territories of Martinique and Reunion Island.

PCR tests will no longer be free of charge from the autumn, unless they are obtained with a prescription, Macron said. It is hoped the measure will drive up vaccination rates by encouraging people to get the vaccine rather than just repeated Covid-19 tests.

"This summer will be a summer of economic recovery," he stated, adding that the 'health passport' – a QR code or certificate proving that the holder has a negative Covid-19 test, is fully vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19 – will be required throughout different establishments in France from August, including bars, restaurants, cafés and shopping centres.

Soon after the president's address, France's online health portal Doctolib.fr crashed because of too many people trying to book vaccination appointments, AFP reported.

The rate of vaccination has slowed in the country.  Around 40% of the population has received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 53.1% has received one dose.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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