France approves COVID-19 vaccine pass in light of protests – nationally

France’s parliament on Sunday gave final approval to the government’s latest measures to tackle the COVID-19 virus, including a vaccine passport contested by anti-vaccine protesters.

Legislators in the lower house of parliament voted 215 in favor and 58 against, paving the way for the law to come into force in the coming days.

The new law, which had a tough ride through parliament with opposition parties finding some of its provisions too harsh, will require people to have a vaccination certificate to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and long-distance trains.

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Currently, unvaccinated individuals can enter such sites with the results of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Nearly 78 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry on Saturday.

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President Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to seek another term in a presidential election in April, told Le Parisien newspaper this month that he wanted to “piss” unvaccinated people off by making their lives so complicated that they would end up get the COVID vaccine.

Thousands of anti-vaccine protesters demonstrated in Paris and some other cities on Saturday against the law, but their numbers had fallen sharply from the week before, just after Macron’s remarks.

France is in the grip of its fifth COVID-19 wave with daily new cases regularly hitting record levels above 300,000. Nevertheless, the number of serious cases involving people in intensive care units is much lower than the first wave in March-April 2020.

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