President Macron says only the immune can go to French bars and restaurants, makes Covid jabs compulsory for care workers and warns the country’s fourth wave has ALREADY begun in dramatic national address
- President Macron introduced new coronavirus measures on Monday night
- Covid-19 vaccinations will be mandatory for those working with the vulnerable
- Care workers have until September 15 to get vaccinated after then ‘checks will be made and sanctions applied’ Macron said in a televised address on Monday
- Vaccine passports will also be required from August 1 for anyone wanting to go out to eat or drink at a bar, café or restaurant, or travel on planes
- Passengers on long-distance bus or train rides will also require a pass
- Just three days ago, France reopened its nightclubs as restrictions began to ease
- It comes as the delta variant has started driving infection rates up across Europe
- Macron is set to announce a new law requiring health workers to get vaccinated
France is to make coronavirus vaccination passes compulsory for bars, cafés and restaurants, President Emmanuel Macron announced tonight.
In a dramatic TV address to the nation from Paris, Mr Macron said the spread of the Delta Covid variant meant tough new measures were essential.
He also said there would be ‘compulsory vaccinations’ for those working with ‘fragile people,’ such as the elderly and the disabled, as France moved towards 100 per cent vaccination.
Health experts fear that a fourth wave, once predicted for the autumn, has already begun in the country.
Mr Macron began his speech at 8:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday in optimistic mood, saying: ‘Thanks to the exceptional commitment of our caregivers, thanks to your good citizenship, we have managed to control the epidemic and breathe again.’
But he said there still had to be a balance found between the ongoing ‘need to protect lives’ and ‘freedom’.
France is to make coronavirus vaccination passes compulsory for bars, cafés and restaurants, President Emmanuel Macron announced tonight
In a dramatic TV address to the nation from Paris, Mr Macron said the spread of the Delta variant meant tough new measures were essential
‘The more we vaccinate, the less space we will leave for the virus to spread,’ said Mr Macron
‘It is a new speed race that is underway. We must move towards the vaccination of all French people.’
Mr Macron told care workers: ‘You will have until September 15 to get vaccinated. From September 15, checks will be made and sanctions applied’.
As well as being asked for vaccination passes on long distance planes, coaches and restaurants, anyone going out to eat or drink will need one from August 1.
‘From the beginning of August, the health pass will apply to cafés, restaurants, hospitals, retirement homes, and long-distance transport: planes, trains and coaches for long journeys,’ said Mr Macron.
This measure will apply to thousands of British tourists who are hoping to holiday in France this summer.
Mr Macron said: ‘From this week, border controls will be further reinforced for nationals from countries at risk, with forced isolation for unvaccinated travellers.’
Mr Macron added: ‘From July 21, use of the health pass will be extended to places of leisure and culture.
‘For all our compatriots over 12 years old, it will be necessary to have been vaccinated or have a negative test to access a show, an amusement park, a concert or a festival.’
So far, only 42 per cent of hospital workers and 49 per cent of those working in the care system are completely vaccinated.
France’s health passport is available on an anti-Covid app, and can show that a person is either fully vaccinated, has recently recovered from Covid or has tested negative in the past 72 hours.
Macron’s announcement on Monday came just three days after France threw open its nightclubs’ doors for the first time in 16 months.
Just three days after France threw open its nightclubs’ doors (pictured on July 9) for the first time in 16 months, President Emmanuel Macron announced new Covid-19 restrictions
President Macron (pictured), 43, hosted a top-level Covid security meeting on Monday morning prior to his speech
It seemed the country was taking a step towards returning to a pre-pandemic normal just in time for summer, but the Delta variant has now started driving infection rates up across Europe.
France’s infections started rising again two weeks ago and on Monday 4,256 new cases of Covid were recorded – up from 2549 last week – and there were 7137 people in hospital with the disease.
Amid fears of a peak in infections, Macron, 43, hosted a top-level Covid security meeting on Monday morning before his evening address.
Macron’s announced measures buck the trend in most other European countries, where Governments have generally shied away from vaccine requirements and instead made it a voluntary measure.
But Italy has introduced similar regulations, with the Covid vaccine being compulsory for health care workers and pharmacists, while those who opt out risk suspension or a salary cut.
Meanwhile in Denmark, restaurants and public events require a digital pass showing that you been fully vaccinated or have a recent negative test.
Some German states require the same for restaurants, though suggestions of making vaccines obligatory have prompted widespread unease.
Macron is expected to announce plans for a law requiring health care workers to get vaccinated (pictured), and people may require special Covid-19 passes for restaurants
The new restrictions come after French restaurants and bars (pictured: Champs Elysees avenue in Paris) began thriving again
Concern has grown in the French government after demand for vaccines has ebbed in recent weeks due to hesitancy, a sense that the virus is no longer a threat, and because some people decided to put off their shots until after the summer holidays.
The new restrictions come after French restaurants and bars began thriving again as the Tour de France drew in tightly packed crowds across the country.
Meanwhile, Hollywood stars have returned to the red carpet mask-free and arm-in-arm at the much-anticipated Cannes Film Festival, which kicked off on Tuesday and continues until Saturday.
The La Bellevilloise nightclub in eastern Paris was just one of the nightclubs across the country that was able to throw open its doors on Friday, but the owner braced for the possibility that the party could be short-lived.
Despite fears of another closure, partygoers were exhilarated at rediscovering the dance scene and people crowded into clubs to enjoy the atmosphere after 16 months.
Club-goer Sophie Anne Descoubes said she was impressed by the club checked her QR code, which showed she’d been either fully vaccinated or freshly tested.
She added: ‘I don’t have any apprehension, just a great joy and the desire to stomp.’
France’s virus infections started rising again two weeks ago, and health service SOS Medecins registered a slight rise in demand for emergency virus treatment over the weekend.
The number of people in French hospitals and intensive care units has been declining for weeks, but doctors predict it will rise when the increase in delta variant infections hits vulnerable populations – as it has in both Britain and Spain.
Meanwhile, Macron also met with car industry figures on Monday as he tried to combine his virus warnings with a message of hope for one of the world’s biggest economies.
The Tour de France (pictured on July 11) has drawn in tightly packed crowds across the country while Cannes Film Festival has given a taste of the pre-pandemic normal
Clubs (pictured La Dune nightclub in the southern city of La Grande Motte) reopened after 16 months last week and partygoers crowded on to dance floors clubs to enjoy the atmosphere
New infections are threatening France’s all-important tourism industry and Macron’s ambitious economic recovery plan – just nine months before the next presidential election.
It comes after France’s secretary of state for European affairs Clément Beaune advised people to ‘avoid Spain and Portugal as destinations’ because the French government is considering restrictions on travel to their neighbours.
She urged people to avoid the countries for their summer holidays due to risks tied to the highly contagious Covid Delta variant.
Last week, Beaune told France 2 TV: ‘To those who have not yet booked their holidays, I say avoid Spain and Portugal as destinations. It is a prudent advice, a recommendation.’
The ministry later specified that ‘travel to Spain and Portugal and anywhere else in Europe remains authorised…We are sending a message of caution on Portugal and Catalonia which are strongly impacted by the Delta variant’.
Spain’s health minister warned that young people can develop severe cases of Covid and asked for their co-operation in taming an infection rate that has more than doubled in a week, as the Delta variant tears through unvaccinated adults.
Scrambling to bring the virus under control, the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia will shut down nightclubs from Friday, just weeks after opening them.
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