France to introduce Covid pass for cafes, trains from Aug 9

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Paris - A valid health pass is generated by receiving two jabs of a recognised vaccine or producing negative test result.


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Published: Wed 28 Jul 2021, 8:34 PM

Last updated: Wed 28 Jul 2021, 9:33 PM

France will from August 9 enforce new legislation that will make a health pass compulsory to visit a cafe, board a plane or travel on an inter-city train, the government's spokesman said Wednesday.

The legislation passed by parliament at the weekend has sparked mass protests in France but the government is determined to press ahead and make the health pass a key part of the fight against Covid-19.

A valid health pass is generated by two jabs from a recognised vaccine, a negative coronavirus test or a recent recovery from infection. The legislation also makes vaccination obligatory for healthworkers and carers.

The pass has already been obligatory from July 21 for visits museums, cinemas and cultural venues with a capacity of more than 50 people. But government spokesman Gabriel Attal said it would be obligatory in cafes, restaurants, flights and inter-city trains from August 9.

Attal said that rising infections driven by the delta variant, with an average of 19,000 daily cases, means that the health situation in France "is continuing to get worse and remains worrying".

His announcement came as data showed 50 percent of France's adult population were now vaccinated with two jabs. The government's health pass strategy makes vaccination its number-one weapon in the fight against Covid-19.

Attal emphasised that there would be a degree of tolerance in the initial phase from August 9 while transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said authorities wanted to have "a good level of control without making the lives of travellers difficult".

Ahead of the return to school after the summer holidays, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said secondary school and college students would only be pulled from classes in case of a positive test among their fellow pupils if they have not been vaccinated.

He said 6,000-7,000 vaccine centres would be deployed around schools to help teenagers get their jabs.

France's health authority on Wednesday approved giving the Moderna jab to 12-17 year olds, after a similar ruling on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in mid-June.

The implementation of the health pass legislation will come four days after France's highest constitutional authority, the Constitutional Council, issues its ruling on the legislation on August 5.

The Council has the power to send laws back to the legislature and government for changes but the government appears confident it will receive the green light.

The plans have proven hugely controversial, prompting two weekends of protests that on Saturday saw over 160,000 rally nationwide and dozens arrested.

President Emmanuel Macron said at the weekend that refusing to be vaccinated amounted to "irresponsibility and egoism".

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