France will require a “health pass” with proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test to access public places including restaurants, movie theaters and long-distance trains, French President Emmanuel Macron announced in a speech Monday.
Macron said the “health pass” will be required for anyone over the age of 12 to enter certain public places as early as July 21, the Guardian reported. The move is a response to concerns in the French government and public health bodies about the Delta variant of COVID-19.
“You’ve understood – vaccination is not immediately obligatory for everyone, but we’re going to extend the health pass to the maximum, in order to push a maximum of you to go and get vaccinated,” Macron said in televised remarks Monday evening.
Notre choix est simple : faire porter les restrictions sur les non-vaccinés plutôt que sur tous.
C’est le sens du pass sanitaire qui sera étendu. pic.twitter.com/Bk21ncGhNz
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 12, 2021
The number of daily new cases in France jumped to more than 4,200 earlier Monday, according to World Health Organization data. French health minister Olivier Veran called the Delta variant “the new enemy” due to its highly contagious nature in remarks Sunday, warning that hospitals could become overloaded as the variant continues to spread in France. (RELATED: Here’s What We Know About The ‘Delta Plus’ Strain)
“Our country is facing a surge in the epidemic across our territory, in mainland France as well as overseas,” Macron said. “The situation is under control, but if we do not act now, the number of cases will increase significantly and will lead to a rise in hospitalizations.”
Macron urged French people to do their “civic duty” of getting vaccinated in Monday’s speech and said the government would be “putting in restrictions on the non-vaccinated rather than on everyone,” the Guardian reported. Around 40% of France’s population is fully vaccinated, according to The Associated Press.
The French president also said Monday that COVID-19 vaccines will be mandatory for workers in the healthcare industry and in retirement homes. He noted the government would implement vaccine checks on those workers starting in September with the risk of fines for non-compliance.