Thousands of people across France are set to take to the streets today to protest changes to the country’s COVID-19 pass regulations.
Government officials confirmed on Tuesday that they plan to enact a law that would effectively block unvaccinated people in reception settings.
Until now, France has enforced the coronavirus health pass, requiring people to show proof of a recent negative test or proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, cafes and cinemas, as well as to board the trains.
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The new change will remove the possibility of showing a negative test, which means that unvaccinated people will be banned from entering reception areas or trains.
What are the changes?
France introduced a health pass last year that prevents people without a negative PCR test or proof of vaccination from entering reception areas, interregional trains and buses, and domestic flights.
But now he wants to turn the pass into a vaccination passport, which means only fully vaccinated people will have access to it.
“I will not send (the unvaccinated) to prison,” said President Emmanuel Macron. “I will not forcibly vaccinate. So you have to tell them, from January 15, you will no longer be able to go to a restaurant, you will no longer be able to take one down, you will no longer be able to have a coffee, go to the theater, to the cinema. “
Those who oppose vaccination are undermining “the strength of a nation,” Macron added.
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The plans met strong opposition from anti-vaccination activists and far-right and far-left groups, but were backed by the government.
Protests are expected to take place across France today, with protesters opposing the latest COVID pass changes.
Violent protests erupted in Guadeloupe and Martinique, two French Caribbean territories, in November when Mr. Macron imposed the vaccination of all health workers, a measure still in force in mainland France.
Macron wants ‘p *** off’ anti-vaccines
President Macron was quoted earlier this week in Le Parisien as saying he wanted “p *** off” unvaccinated people.
Speaking to the newspaper, he said, “The unvaccinated, I really want the f ***. And so, we’re going to keep doing that, until the end. That’s the strategy.”
Opponents of the plans accused Macron of behavior unbecoming of a president. Opposition MP Sébastien Jumel said the president “had deliberately chosen to add hysteria to the debate”.
Macron risks being re-elected in April. He has yet to declare his candidacy, but his intentions to do so are becoming increasingly clear. In the interview with the Parisian, he said: “There is no false suspense. I want it.”
COVID-19 cases could peak in 10 days
On January 7, Professor Alain Fischer, responsible for France’s vaccine strategy against COVID, warned that the peak would occur “mainly around the start of the second half of January, so if we do get there, it would be around ten days. “.
He also told LCI TV in France: “I think we are coming to the top of this new wave.”
The government now wants to turn this pass into a vaccination passport, which means that only fully vaccinated people will have access to it.
Coronavirus patients occupy more than 72% of intensive care unit beds in France, and most of them are not vaccinated.
There are more than 20,000 people hospitalized with the virus – a number that has been rising steadily for weeks but not as sharply as cases nationwide.
France recorded 261,481 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, which is lower than the record of more than 332,000 set on Wednesday.