People in France will need to carry a Covid pass to go to a restaurant, shopping centre or get on a train or plane, President Emmanuel Macron has announced, as he ordered all French health care workers to get vaccinated by September 15.
To get a pass, people must have proof they are fully vaccinated, recently recovered from the virus, or have taken a fresh negative virus test.
Jab rates had stalled in France - one of Europe's most vaccine hesitant countries - but Mr Macron's televised addressed prompted a huge surge in vaccine bookings - almost one million people in France made appointments for a vaccine in a single day after the president's plea.An app that centralises France’s vaccine and other medical appointments, Doctolib, announced 926,000 people had made appointments on Monday, a daily record since the country rolled out coronavirus vaccines in December. People under age 35 made up 65% of the new appointments.
Mr Macron's measures come amid a rise in coronavirus cases across the continent fuelled by the more transmissible delta variant.
Some 40% of France’s population is fully vaccinated.
“Get vaccinated!” was the president’s overall message, even tweeting a GIF of himself repeating the phrase.
“The country is facing a strong resumption of the epidemic touching all our territory,” Macron said, speaking against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower.
Warning of a new wave of potential hospitalisations in August, he said, “The equation is simple. The more we vaccinate, the less space we leave this virus to circulate.”
Mr Macron said the government would declare a medical state of emergency again starting on Tuesday, which allows authorities more freedom to impose virus restrictions, but he stopped short of any new lockdown measures, saying: “We have to learn to live with the virus.”
The president said a jab was essential for all workers in health care facilities or nursing homes, and all workers or volunteers who care for the elderly or ailing at home.
Those who don’t get vaccinated by September 15 will face potential sanctions or fines, he said.
Greece announced Monday that health care workers will be suspended if they refuse to get vaccinated while Italy made coronavirus vaccination obligatory for health care workers and pharmacists, and those who opt out risk suspension from their jobs or a salary cut.
In Denmark, restaurants and public events require a digital pass showing you have 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.
More than 111,000 people with the virus have died in France.