PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ordered all French health workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before September 15 and urged all his compatriots to be vaccinated as soon as possible, to fight infections resurgences that threaten the country’s economic recovery.
In a televised address, Macron also mandated special Covid-19 passes for anyone wishing to visit a restaurant, shopping center or hospital or board a train or plane. To get a pass, people must have proof that they are fully vaccinated, or have recently recovered from the virus, or have been retested for the virus negative.
The delta variant is once again raising viral infections in France, just as the country launched the summer holiday season after a long-awaited reopening. About 40 percent of the French population is fully vaccinated.
“Get vaccinated!” was the president’s general message. He even tweeted a GIF of himself repeating the phrase.
“The country is facing a strong resumption of the epidemic affecting our entire territory,” said Macron, speaking against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower. Warning of a new wave of potential hospitalizations in August, he said: “The equation is simple. The more we vaccinate, the less room we leave for this virus to circulate. “
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But he stopped before any further lockdown action, declaring “We have to learn to live with the virus”.
Macron said the government would declare a state of medical emergency again from Tuesday, giving authorities more freedom to impose restrictions on viruses.
Most European governments have been reluctant to make vaccinations mandatory. But after tens of thousands of people infected with the virus died in French retirement homes, Macron said vaccination is essential for all workers in healthcare facilities or retirement homes, and all workers or volunteers. who take care of the elderly or sick at home. Those who do not get the vaccine before September 15 will face penalties or potential fines, he said.
In France, vaccines are widely available for anyone 12 years of age and older. But interest has waned in recent weeks due to reluctance to get vaccinated, a feeling that the virus is no longer a threat and because some people have postponed their injections after their summer vacation. Demand started to rise again over the weekend as people braced for Macron’s announcements.
Macron also said on Monday that France would start charging money for certain virus tests, which so far have all been free to anyone on French territory.
Viral infections in France started to increase again two weeks ago. The number of people in French hospitals and intensive care units has been declining for weeks, but doctors predict it will also increase when the rise in delta-variant infections hits vulnerable populations, such as in Britain and Spain .