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New COVID restrictions Approved in France

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The French parliament approved on Monday a new COVID bill, known as passe sanitaire.

The new bill will force a health pass to access restaurants, bars, trains and planes from the beginning of August.

The bill means people were visiting restaurants and other public venues, or those undertaking domestic travel on trains and aeroplanes, will be required to show proof of vaccination, a negative test, or recent recovery from the coronavirus.

All workers in the healthcare sector will also be required to start getting vaccinated by September 15 or risk suspension.

The bill came as the country witnesses widespread protests against COVID restrictions.

French President Emmanuel Macron defended the bill saying: “What is your freedom worth if you say to me ‘I don’t want to be vaccinated’, but tomorrow you infect your father, your mother or myself?” he said during a visit to a hospital in French Polynesia.

While he said protesters are “free to express themselves calmly and respectfully”, he warned demonstrations would not end the pandemic.

He also criticised “people who are in the business of irrational, sometimes cynical, manipulative mobilisation” against vaccination.

Macron’s remarks came after France recorded almost 23,000 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, twice as many as the previous week.

Thus Health Minister Olivier Véran warned of an unprecedented increase in Covid-19 cases because of the Delta variant when 18,000 cases were reported over 24 hours.

“That means we have an increase in the spread of the virus of around 150 per cent in the last week: we’ve never seen that,” Véran told parliament as it began debate on the stricter rules aimed at encouraging vaccine hold-outs.

The initial Covid-19 pass was implemented by decree, while lawmakers will vote on its extension to restaurants and trains or planes for long-distance travel.

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