The French Parliament has given this Sunday its final approval to the law that transforms the covid certificate until now in force into a vaccination passport that will only allow access to closed public places such as bars, restaurants, museums, cinemas or interregional transport to people who have completed their vaccination schedule. Until now, you could also access these spaces with a negative test, but with this new rule, immunization will be required. The move is a further step in President Emmanuel Macron’s stated goal of making life so miserable — “fuck them” or “annoy them,” as he put it to the great shock and outrage of many French people and the opposition — for the unvaccinated, about five million still in all of France, who end up getting the necessary doses. The new law, which should have started operating this Saturday, is expected to come into force at the end of next week, after a foreseeable passage through the Constitutional Council for a final validation of its conditions, as the opposition has advanced.
The law to “strengthen the instruments for managing the health crisis”, as the text is officially called, was approved by the National Assembly in its last reading with 215 votes in favor and 58 against, after two and a half hours of debate . This puts an end to a parliamentary process of two long weeks full of shocks and interruptions, in which the discussion of the bill was suspended on several occasions in the midst of a charged pre-electoral environment and strong controversies. The main one, but not the only one, occurred as a result of Macron’s controversial words about the unvaccinated, to whom he said he wanted immerse (a very inelegant term that can be translated as annoy, fuck or whore) and whose right to citizenship was even questioned in an interview, statements that were harshly condemned by most opposition parties.
With an average of record infections of more than 300,000 cases per day due to the dazzling expansion of the omicron variant, the Government had accelerated the presentation of the bill with the aim of having it enter into force on Saturday, January 15. That is the date that had been set so that the current covid certificate in force since the summer – and which also admits a negative test as evidence to enter closed public places – is deactivated for all those who have not completed their vaccination schedule with the dose recall within the established deadlines. It is about 500,000 people, according to initial estimates, although with the wave of new infections – which are affecting vaccination rates – the figures dance. This last measure effectively entered into force on Saturday, without, on the contrary, still having the vaccination passport. Until this is underway, both those who have a booster dose and have not yet received it and those who are not vaccinated may continue to present a negative test. This possibility, however, will end as soon as the vaccination passport comes into force, according to the Government around the 20th.
During its passage through Parliament, especially in the Senate where the opposition from the conservative Republican party has the majority, the original text was slightly modified. Thus, the vaccine passport will only apply to people over 16 years of age, while those between 12 and 15 years of age will be able to continue presenting the covid certificate, an end validated this Sunday.
In its latest review, the National Assembly, on the other hand, reinstated identity checks by restaurateurs or waiters in case there are doubts about the identity of the person showing their vaccination passport. The measure was approved despite renewed criticism from the opposition, both from the right and from the left, which considers that the rule supposes, on the one hand, an additional burden on restaurateurs who already complain about the certificate controls they must carry out , in addition to casting doubt on the possibility of creating a “control society” in which untrained people with no legal authority could exercise control normally reserved for the security forces.
The expiration of the covid certificates for those who have not received the booster dose on time, Macron’s controversial statements and the imminent entry into force of the vaccination passport have revived the anti-covid passport demonstrations in recent weeks, which 15 years ago days they once again gathered more than 100,000 people in the streets across the country, although this last Saturday the figure fell by half again.
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