On Monday evening, the President of France Emmanuel Macron addressed his nation to announce new measures against the fourth coronavirus wave and in particular – the Delta variant. He underlined the need for extensive vaccination in the next couple of months but explained that the pandemic will continue to dominate daily lives throughout most of next year.
France is observing the lowest rate of hospitalisations and deaths caused by COVID-19 for over a year now, the President summarised. The country’s vaccination strategy can be considered a success with already 35 million people having received their first shot.
However, there is reason to worry about the increased contamination rate, connected with the new Delta variant, reads an official statement by the Presidency. Thus, the only solution they see is in the comprehensive vaccination, which includes every citizen.
For this reason, vaccination becomes mandatory for staff of hospitals, clinics, retirement homes, establishments for people with disabilities as well as for all professionals or volunteers working with the aged and vulnerable populations. The latter will be subject to extensive control starting from mid-September, but President Macron urged the concerned groups to start as soon as possible.
Vaccination will be promoted in many other ways: starting from next autumn, PCR tests that were not prescribed by a doctor will become paid again, in an attempt to push vaccination rates.
In the short term, there are also new measures aimed to prevent the spread of Delta in France. These are:
From this week, border controls will be stepped up;
From 21 July, the health pass will be extended to places of leisure and cultural facilities. Thus, everyone above the age of 12 must show proof (on paper or the TOUSANTICOVID mobile application) that they have either been vaccinated or have taken a negative test recently;
From August, the health pass will apply in cafes, restaurants, shopping centres, as well as in hospitals, retirement homes, medico-social establishments and in long-distance transport.
Towards the end of his speech, Macron appealed to the French people with the following: “My dear compatriots. This summer of reunion and return to the sources, this summer which will be made up of friendly and family moments, must therefore nevertheless be a summer of vigilance, of the fight against the virus, of vaccination. I trust you, trust us to stay united, calm, determined.”