Friday, February 3, 2023

1 million French get first vaccine ahead of new virus law

PARIS ( Associated Press) – A spokesman for France’s government said Thursday that more than 1 million adults have died in the past month, after the government announced plans to exclude unvaccinated people from all restaurants, playgrounds and other places. got its first COVID-19 vaccine shot.

The French parliament approved the new law over the weekend and the measure is expected to come into force in the coming days, after the Constitutional Council released its assessment on Friday.

The so-called vaccine pass “is a new step in our strategy to encourage (immunization) and ensure maximum protection. It is already making its impact,” said government spokesman Gabriel Attal.

About 92% of French adults – more than 48 million people – are already fully vaccinated, and 94% have received at least one shot.

In addition, the vaccine pass “helped the (COVID-19) booster campaign very quickly,” Atal said.

“France is now in the European leading group with respect to its vaccination campaign,” he insisted.

The new law requires full immunizations to enter restaurants and bars, cinemas, theaters and other leisure and sporting facilities, and to take interregional trains and domestic flights. This applies to everyone over the age of 16. The government said some exceptions are planned for those who have recently recovered from COVID-19.

So far, unvaccinated people have been allowed if they have recently tested negative.

France this week reported a record number of more than 464,000 confirmed cases of infection in a single day, as the country’s virus spread through the highly contagious Omicron type.

On an average, over 320,000 cases have been reported per day in the past one week. Yet the number of new patients admitted to intensive care units of hospitals decreased by 15% over the same period, which the government hopes will improve in the coming weeks.

Prime Minister Jean Casteux and Health Minister Olivier Veran are due to hold a news conference on Thursday evening. If the virus situation allows, he is expected to announce a program to lift restrictions in the country.

Current restrictions include working from home at least three days per week when possible and limiting to a maximum of 2,000 indoors and 5,000 people during events.

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