French lawmakers approve Macron’s vaccine pass after heated debate

Paris, Jan 6 (EFE).- France’s National Assembly Thursday approved a bill to introduce mandatory vaccine passports for public spaces, as the government toughens restrictions for the unvaccinated in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

The law was passed after 5.00 am with 214 votes in favor, 93 against and 27 abstentions, ending a debate that began on Tuesday.

“It is the right thing, not only for the government but for the country, the French people and the fight against the pandemic,” prime minister Jean Castex told BFM television hours after the vote.

The bill will now go to the Senate, which is dominated by opposition conservatives, before it returns to the National Assembly ratification and later the Council of State.

Under the legislation, all people over the age of 12 will be required to present a vaccine pass before entering bars, restaurants, museums and public transport.

The government wants to transform the Covid-19 health pass, which provides proof of vaccination, negative test result or recent recovery from the virus, to a new vaccine pass, under which only vaccination will be valid.

The debate took so long because lawmakers presented more than 650 amendments to the three-article bill.

The process was suspended several times, including early on Wednesday when lawmakers demanded explanations from president Emmanuel Macron after a controversial interview in which he said he wanted to “piss off” the unvaccinated segments of the French population.

“I really want to piss them off, and we will continue to do this – to the end,” he said in an interview with Le Parisien.

So far, 53 million of France’s 67 million population have received at least the first vaccine dose.

France is currently dealing with a surge in coronavirus infections fueled by the Omicron variant, as 332,252 cases were recorded in the past 24 hours.EFE


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