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Vaccination must increase, France is now in 4th Covid wave, says PM

Jean Castex discussed the Covid-19 situation in a TV interview this afternoon (July 21), and spoke about new health pass and vaccination measures

Prime Minister Jean Castex

France's Prime Minister Jean Castex said today (July 21) that the country was now experiencing a fourth wave of Covid-19 cases Pic: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock

France’s prime minister made a series of statements about the Covid-19 situation and rules in France today (July 21), during a TV interview following a meeting with top ministers.

Jean Castex stated that the country was now experiencing a fourth wave of Covid cases due to the spread of the extremely contagious Delta variant. 

He also announced that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in France will no longer need to self-isolate if they come into contact with someone positive with the virus.

He said the government was aiming to open up five million new Covid vaccine appointments over the next two weeks. 

The government is also targeting greater deployment of the health pass and a bigger push in the Covid vaccination campaign, Mr Castex said.

He urged the three million people aged over 50 with underlying health issues who are still unvaccinated to hurry up and get a vaccine. 

The prime minister made the announcement this afternoon in an interview on TF1. 

It comes before Parliament debates this week key new Covid-related measures, such as the extended use of the health pass (pass sanitaire) in August and mandatory vaccination for certain professions. 

The government wants to make the health pass - which is proof of a person’s Covid-19 status through vaccination or test certificates - mandatory to enter restaurants, cafes, bars, long-distance transport services, etc. from August. 

The measures were outlined in a speech by President Emmanuel Macron on July 12.

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

Key points of the PM’s interview

  • There is no doubt that France is now experiencing a fourth wave of Covid-19, Mr Castex said, putting the explosion in cases down to the spread of the Delta variant

  • 96% of the [roughly] 18,000 people infected yesterday were not vaccinated, he said

  • He highlighted the Covid situation in Pyrénées-Orientales and Haute-Corse as particularly bad

  • The government has set a new goal of having 50million people vaccinated with at least a first dose by the end of August. The target of 40million people will be reached by the end of July

  • “We still have three million people over 50 with underlying health issues who are not vaccinated. I appeal to them: hurry up, even more than the others!" Mr Castex said

  • When schools go back after the summer there will be a vaccination drive in secondary schools to get pupils vaccinated. It concerns children aged 12-17

  • The health pass - which is proof of Covid-19 status via test or vaccination certificates - will not be a requirement to access schools

  • Restaurant and other public establishment owners will not be responsible for checking the IDs of their customers, only their health passes. The ID check and any fraudulent activity will be the job of police to verify

  • Local measures such as closing bars and restaurants early or re-introducing the need to wear a mask outdoors may be brought in by local authorities.

  • "Within the next fortnight, we're going to open five million new Covid vaccine appointments,” Mr Castex said, adding the idea was to have them as available as soon as possible

  • Mr Castex spoke of the need to speak to and reach out to people who were still hesitant about getting vaccinated. He also condemned violent acts by anti-vaxxers, following suspected arson attacks on vaccination centres, and other anti-vaxxers who have been wearing yellow stars and comparing their situation to that of Jewish people persecuted during World War Two.

Related stories:

Health pass infringes rights of children and poor says rights defender

How will foreign visitors to France use the health pass for going out?

France extends health pass, isolation rules reviewed: 6 Covid updates

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