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France Makes COVID-19 Certificates Mandatory for French Travellers, Despite Protests

The French parliament has approved a bill requiring the country’s citizens to carry a COVID-19 certificate, known as health permits or the French ‘pass sanitarie’, in order to access restaurants, bars, shopping malls, hospitals, trains, planes, etc.

As such, all French citizens are required to carry a vaccination certificate, proof of recovery from illness or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours in order to be able to travel, among other things. The same rule already applies to international travelers visiting the country.

The requirement to file a health permit will become fully functional from the beginning of August, reports.

Previously, the head of state, Emmanuel Macron, said that from July 21 all people will be required to show the document if they want to access many public places. However, with the newly adopted law, the use of the health card will be expanded more widely in order to reduce the risk of infection with COVID-19 within the country.

“I understand, vaccination is not immediately mandatory for everyone. But we will extend the health card to the maximum, to pay as many of you as possible to go and get vaccinated,” Macron said last week, while asking the country’s citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The decision was not welcomed by the thousands of demonstrators across France last week who began demonstrating in the early afternoon, some of them chanting “Going Health: First Step to Hell”.

According to the newly adopted law, it is mandatory for all pension and healthcare workers to complete the vaccination process by September 15th at the latest. Vaccination checks on these workers are expected to begin in September, meaning that all those who did not follow the procedures risk a fine of up to 45,000 euros and a year in prison.

Vaccination against COVID-19 will also be mandatory for all employees in close contact with the elderly and vulnerable people.

The health card gives access to most places as long as the holder carries one of the following documents:

Vaccination certificate Last COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours Proof of recent recovery from COVID-19 disease

However, Macron encouraged all citizens to get vaccinated because it is more appropriate to present a certificate of vaccination than to take a COVID-19 test every 48 hours.

As a strategy to boost vaccination, Macron indicated that from September, free coronavirus tests will not be distributed to the country’s citizens. Travelers are also required to pay for their COVID-19 tests.

With the exception of adults, it has been confirmed that a health permit will also be required for everyone between the ages of 12 and 17. However, since this group of people has recently started reaching their vaccination dates, the deadline for them to meet this requirement will be extended until August 30.

In addition, to make the vaccination process more convenient, the French authorities revealed that based on the new rules, a person is considered to have been fully vaccinated seven days after the second vaccine dose, instead of 14.

Earlier, the French authorities announced that with the exception of vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the country will also recognize the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute in India.

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