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Health pass extended, more vaccination: Macron’s anti-Covid measures

Covid PCR tests will be payable from autumn unless they are for medical reasons and with a prescription and a third anti-Covid vaccine jab will be available for certain older people, president announces in TV speech

France President Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron announced July 12 that Covid vaccines are now mandatory for healthcare workers and those working with the elderly and sick Pic: Screenshot / Franceinfo

President Macron tonight (July 12) announced new measures in a bid to slow the spread of the Covid Delta variant with the emphasis on vaccination.

They include obligatory vaccination for some workers, and much greater use of the pass sanitaire for access to different spaces in everyday life.

In a televised speech President Macron said that at present deaths and hospitalisations due to Covid are at their lowest for a year; however the Delta variant – "three times more contagious than the original version of the virus – was a concern, especially as it "rushes into all the areas not covered by vaccination".

If nothing is done now, cases will continuer to rise strongly and there will be a rise in hospitalisations next month, the president said. However all the vaccines used in France "protect solidly" from it: "They cut its power of contamination by 12 and avoid 95% of serious forms".

He added: "The equation is simple: The more we vaccinate, the less room there will be for the virus to spread, the more we will avoid hospitalisations and the more we will avoid other mutations of the virus which could be more dangerous still."

Key points of his announced plan to control the spread of the Delta variant are:

  • Mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations from now for all staff (healthcare and non-healthcare) working in hospitals, clinics, retirement homes, establishments for persons with disabilities, and all workers or volunteers who work in contact with elderly or vulnerable people, including at their homes      
  • Checks and sanctions to ensure this mandatory vaccination rule is followed to begin from September 15. Health Minister Olivier Véran said that those who are not vaccinated will not be able to work, and will not be paid.
  • We will no doubt need to consider "compulsory vaccination for all in France," warned President Macron, but he said that for now the government is choosing to put "confidence" in people to get vaccinated voluntarily "as soon as possible"
  • Health pass required for all aged 12 and above to enter events of over 50 people from July 21. This will be expanded to cafés, restaurants, shopping centres, hospitals, retirement homes, planes, trains and coaches for long-distance journeys from the beginning of August (to be confirmed by parliamentary vote). Long-distance travel concerned will include TGV and Intercités trains, inter-regional coach trips and all domestic and international flights. Local trains, buses or trams will not be concerned.
  • Booster vaccine doses for older people who were vaccinated in January or February and whose antibody and immunity levels may soon start to diminish. First appointments can be made from the beginning of September
  • Secondary school pupils and university students: New vaccination campaigns to start after the summer in educational establishments
  • Covid-19 PCR tests which are not for medical reasons and proven with a prescription will no longer be free from this autumn. This is aimed at tests needed to meet travel and leisure.
  • Stricter border controls for travellers arriving from 'at-risk countries' with enforced self-isolation for unvaccinated people
  • A state of health emergency will be declared from tomorrow for Martinique and Reunion, and a curfew will be established. Such measures will be avoided in mainland France unless the incidence rate in a department rises above 200 cases per 100,00/per week and hospitalisations rise. In this case prefects could take special measures.

The health pass

France’s health pass (pass sanitaire) refers to:

  • A Covid-19 test (rapid antigen or PCR) showing a negative result and taken within the past 48 hours
  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate
  • A Covid-19 test (rapid antigen or PCR) showing a positive Covid-19 result, taken between two weeks and six months from date of test

These documents can be shown in paper format, digitally or through the phone application TousAntiCovid. 

A pass is currently required to enter events with more than 1,000 people. 

Related stories:

Covid Delta variant, case rates: Why Macron is speaking tonight

France’s health pass vs the EU’s health pass: What is the difference?

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