France introduces Covid-19 passport to enter cinemas, museums and matches

PARIS, FRANCE: People wishing to go to movies, museums, sports matches and other cultural events in France will be required to show proof of the covid-19 vaccine or a negative test from Wednesday, as the country faces a sudden increase in the number of new cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.
A so-called health passport will be needed for any events or venues of more than 50 people before it spreads to restaurants, cafes and malls in August, President Emmanuel Macron announced in a televised address last week. .
When entering sporting and cultural events, visitors can remove their face masks, which remain mandatory in shops, businesses and public transport.
Masks are now mandatory outdoors again in southern France on the border with Spain, the Pyrenees Orientales district, as well as in much of the western France district near Bordeaux, a popular tourist destination where the number of newly infected is increasing, a news agency reported.
Wearing a mask is compulsory from Tuesday in Toulouse and in the other neighboring towns.
Health Minister Olivier Veran warned Tuesday against an increase in cases of the Delta variant of covid-19 when 18,000 cases were recorded in 24 hours.
“This means we increased the spread of the virus by around 150% last week, we’ve never seen this before, Veran told parliament as he began to debate tougher rules to encourage the vaccination.
Possession of a covid-19 passport is regulated by decree, while lawmakers will vote to extend possession of a health pass to restaurants, trains and long-haul planes.
From September, the vaccine will be compulsory for both health workers and nursing home workers, many of whom were particularly cautious or refused to be vaccinated.
More than 100,000 people demonstrated on Saturday in France against the health pass, condemning a “dictatorship” that would discriminate against those who oppose the vaccine.
Covid-19 incidence rates now exceed 50 per 100,000 people in Paris and much of southern and western France, where thousands of families traditionally spend their holidays.
But the government is hoping that mass vaccination will mitigate the spread of the fourth wave epidemic, which could once again fill hospitals or require further blockades.
Millions of French people made an appointment for the vaccine after Macron’s speech last week, and more than 37 million people, or 56% of the population, received at least one of the two required doses.
By the end of July, 40 million people will be vaccinated with at least one dose, a target reached a month earlier than expected and Prime Minister Jean Castex told lawmakers on Tuesday.
But as a sign of opposition to tougher measures, two vaccination centers were vandalized last week, and members of the Macron party are the target of threats on social networks.
Paris prosecutors said Tuesday they were investigating death threats received by several lawmakers who supported the new rules.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in the Mediterranean city of Toulon have opened an investigation for “public insults” over posters depicting Macron as Hitler saying “Obey, get vaccinated.”

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