People who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 are no longer allowed to visit restaurants, bars, tourist spots and sporting venues in France unless they have recently recovered from the virus.
The new law, which went into effect on Monday, requires a “vaccine pass” for the government’s anti-virus strategy.
France is recording the highest daily coronavirus infection numbers in Europe, and hospitals continue to be flooded with virus patients, although the number of people in intensive care units has declined in recent days.
The government has imposed some other restrictions amid a surge in the Omicron version, focusing on a vaccine pass approved by France’s parliament and constitutional council last week.
According to studies, Omicron is less likely to cause serious illness than the previous Delta version. Omicron spreads more easily than other coronavirus strains, and has already become dominant in many countries. It also more easily infects people who have been vaccinated or who have previously been infected with earlier versions of the virus.
Critics question whether the pass will make much of a difference in a country where 94% of French adults have received at least one vaccine dose, and scattered groups protested against the new law on Saturday. The government hopes it protects the most vulnerable and eases pressure on overcrowded ICUs, where most patients are not vaccinated.
Since last summer, France has required a “health pass” to go to any cafe, museum, movie theater or take a regional train or domestic flight. But as of Monday, unvaccinated people could activate the pass by having recently tested negative. The new pass only works for people who have been fully vaccinated, and who have recently recovered from the virus.
Meanwhile, France on Monday opened up access to booster shots for 12- to 17-year-olds.
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