French MPs vote a law for special virus passes, health workers’ vaccinations

Photo: EPA President Emmanuel Macron

France's parliament approved a law early Monday requiring special virus passes for all restaurants and domestic travel and mandating vaccinations for all health workers, AP reported. Both measures have prompted protests and political tensions. The law requires all workers in the health care sector to start getting vaccinated by 15 September, or risk suspension.

It also requires a “health pass” to enter all restaurants, trains, planes and some other public venues. It initially applies to all adults, but will apply to everyone 12 and older starting Sept. 30.

To get the pass, people must have proof they are fully vaccinated, recently tested negative or recently recovered from the virus. Paper or digital documents will be accepted. The law says a government decree will outline how to handle vaccination documents from other countries.

Lawmakers worked through the night and the weekend to reach a compromise version approved by the Senate on Sunday night and by the National Assembly after midnight. The rules can be applied through 15 November, depending on the virus situation.

President Emmanuel Macron and his government say they are needed to protect vulnerable populations and hospitals as infections rebound and to avoid new lockdowns. Macron appealed for national unity and mass vaccination to fight the resurgent virus, and lashed out at those fueling anti-vaccine sentiment and protests.

About 160,000 people protested around France on Saturday against a special Covid-19 pass for restaurants and mandatory vaccinations for health workers. Many marchers shouted “liberty!” and said the government shouldn’t tell them what to do.

Visiting a hospital in French Polynesia afterward, Macron urged national unity and asked, “What is your freedom worth if you say to me ‘I don’t want to be vaccinated,’ but tomorrow you infect your father, your mother or myself?” While he said protesters are “free to express themselves in a calm and respectful manner,” he said demonstrations won’t make the coronavirus go away.

He criticized “people who are in the business of irrational, sometimes cynical, manipulative mobilisation” against vaccination. Among those organising the protests have been far-right politicians and extremist members of France’s yellow vest movement tapping into anger at Macron’s government.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

Similar articles

  • Germany GDP growth slows to 2.5% in 2021

    Germany GDP growth slows to 2.5% in 2021

    Germany revised downwards the 2021 expected economic growth due to pandemic slowdown coupled with supply bottlenecks linked to almost all raw materials. The Ifo institute said it now saw this year gross domestic product growth down to 2.5%, Reuters reported. The previous forecast was 0.8% percentage points higher.

    40
  • Polls in Germany shift slowly in favour of Merkel's conservatives

    Polls in Germany shift slowly in favour of Merkel's conservatives

    Opinion polls ahead of the German elections on Sunday are continuing to shift slowly in favour of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc, although it still remains behind the Social Democrats (SPD), dpa reported. The latest poll by the Forsa institute on Tuesday shows Merkel's alliance of Christian Democrats and Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) up one percentage point at 22%, three points behind the SPD and their candidate for chancellor, Olaf Scholz.

    51