French parliament approves vaccine pass law to tackle Covid

France’s parliament has given final approval to the government’s latest measures to tackle Covid-19, including a vaccine pass contested by anti-vaccine protesters.

Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament voted 215 in favour to 58 against on Sunday, paving the way for the law to enter force in the coming days.

The new law, which had a rough ride through parliament, with opposition parties finding some of its provisions too tough, will require people to have a certificate of vaccination to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and long-distance trains.

Currently, unvaccinated people can enter such places with the results of a recent negative Covid-19 test. Nearly 78% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry on Saturday.

Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to seek a second term in April’s presidential election, told Le Parisien this month that he wanted to “piss off” unvaccinated people by making their lives so complicated they would end up getting the Covid vaccine.

Thousands of anti-vaccine protesters demonstrated in Paris and some other cities on Saturday against the law, but their numbers were down sharply from the week before, just after Macron’s remarks.

France is in the grips of its fifth Covid-19 wave, with daily new cases regularly hitting record levels above 300,000. However, the number of intensive care admissions is much lower than in the first wave in 2020.

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