France: Residents share ‘confusion’ over Covid health pass
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French President Emmanuel Macron announced on July 12 a range of new rules and restrictions to tackle the falling vaccine uptake and rising cases of the Beta variant across France. One such measure includes a vaccine passport which must show vaccinated status if someone wants to enter a hospitality venue. But while the passports are not due to be fully implemented until August, French citizens are struggling to get to grips with how the new rules work with venues up and down the country seeing a surge in confused callers asking for clarification.
Speaking to France 24, Campsite Manager Claire Cohen explained many holidaymakers were calling in to ask what rules they needed to follow when they visited her resort.
She told the news broadcaster: “People are panicking, they don’t know if they will be able to come if they are vaccinated and their children are not.
“Or if they haven’t had all their doses, it’s stressful for everyone.”
The passports were announced by President Macron as a way to encourage more people to get vaccinations as uptake has slumped in recent weeks.
The document will either show vaccination status or that the owner has had a recent negative test.
Over 2.2 million vaccine appointments were booked in the 48 hours after Mr Macron’s announcement.
The Beta variant also continues to dominate in France which was the main reason for the UK to halt quarantine amnesty with the neighbouring country.
Vaccine passports were not the only thing introduced to curb the surge in cases as localised curfews, mandatory jabs for health workers and the end of free PCR tests were also introduced.
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It is hoped by making PCR tests only available via prescription it would encourage people to get the jab rather than constantly test themselves.
The plans were met with widespread condemnation from French citizens who protested against the decision on Bastille Day and over the following weekend.
Protesters stress they are not anti-vax but are simply opposing the limiting of their freedoms.
Many are also confused over how the new rules will be implemented and what they need to do to follow them.
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One Montpellier local told France 24: “We are a bit worried, we don’t know if we’ll be able to go to the cinema without deciding three days in advance.
“Do we have to test the kids?”
Another said: “The problem is I’m not willing to be tested two or three times a week just to go anywhere.”
The UK is also set to emulate the French system with passports being introduced for crowded venues like nightclubs.
However, the Government has indicated for venues like pubs, public transport and government buildings they will not be enforced.
It comes as the UK lifted its legal COVID-19 restrictions on July 19 before announcing on the same day the new vaccine passports to encourage uptake in younger demographics.
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