The French government wants to extend the “health pass” against Covid-19 until July 31, which has restricted access to many public places such as bars, cafes, cinemas or long-distance transport since the summer.
The extension of the special law known as “epidemic management”, which authorizes the use of the health pass as well as local travel restrictions, was presented to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday.
With this measure, the government’s objective is to encourage the 26.5% of French people who have not yet had their two doses to be vaccinated.
Because if the executive has renounced the compulsory vaccination, the pass conditions since August 9 access to many social spaces, such as bars and restaurants. Since August 30, it has also been imposed on 1.8 million employees in contact with the public.
In addition, to obtain the health pass, you must be doubly vaccinated or present a negative test. However, from Friday, the tests carried out in order to obtain the pass will no longer be reimbursed and will cost a few dozen euros.
Although the epidemic is largely under control, the government also wants to protect itself from any reckless lawsuits in the event of a resumption of contagion.
The test positivity rate has fallen to 1% and the number of cases continues to decrease: 5,880 detected Tuesday, October 12, against more than 43,000 at the height of the second wave of spring, according to official figures from Public Health France.
Parliamentary oppositions strongly denounced this eight-month extension, believing that the government wishes to avoid a potentially divisive debate before the next presidential election in April.
Demonstrations have taken place every Saturday in France since the introduction of the health pass, bringing together up to 237,000 people at the height of the mobilization, but the opposition has weakened and they were only 45,000 last Saturday.
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal tried to appease Wednesday, explaining that there would be “a debate in Parliament on the basis of the text voted in the Council of Ministers”.
“This is not to say that we extend the health pass until July 31”, but to say that the government “gives itself the possibility of using it”, he continued. “The health pass will not last forever. “
More or less similar health passes have been adopted in many European countries, in particular in Austria, Hungary and Italy.
A pioneer country, Denmark, on the other hand, abandoned its “Coronapass”, imposed in April. The “champion of vaccine coverage”, according to the WHO, relies on the quality of its screening system to follow the evolution of the epidemic.