France announces intensified vaccination campaign to head off new Covid-19 wave

·2-min read

President Emmanuel Macron announced mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for health staff on Monday as well as a tightening of restrictions to fight a recent surge in cases linked to the Delta variant.

“If we don’t act now, case numbers and hospital numbers will rise,” Macron said in a televised speech.

He opened his 20 minute discourse saying that France has "succeeded in controlling the epidemic" thanks to a nationwide vaccination campaign.

A six percent growth of the French economy was the "proof" that the country had overcome the uncertainties created by the epidemic.

But he strongly warned against the sudden increase of Covid-19 cases driven by the new Delta strain that is now dominant in France.

He also told the country that while available vaccines "protect us solidly against the variant,“ the need to vaccinate "as many people as possible, everywhere, at all times" remains the governments' primary goal."

Compulsory jabs

Vaccination for caregivers will now be compulsory. Caregivers and non-medical staff in hospitals will have to be vaccinated if they are not so already.

At the moment, 61.3% of nursing home professionals have received at least one dose, 51% are fully vaccinated.

Of people giving care privately, 81% have received a first dose while 76.1%have received their second one too.

Macron also announced that as of 15th of September, checks will be carried out among nursing staff to ensure everybody is in compliance with the new rules. Those refusing jabs will face legal consequences, he added.

Vaccination for the general public remains voluntary "for now," says Macron, adding that he had "confidence" that people would act out of "a sense of collective spirit", to get their jabs.

Currently nine million doses are still available. Intensified vaccination campaigns will be carried out at schools after the summer holidays end on the 3rd of September.

State of emergency in overseas departments

Elsewhere, he said a curfew will be maintained on the islands of Martinique and Reunion due to the increased numbers of newly infected people.

Furthermore "extended health passes" - showing that the carrier is vaccinated, has tested negative, or has recovered from Covid-19 will have to be used when travelling within the European Union. Within France, the pass will be required when entering night clubs, bars, restaurants, amusement parts, trains and planes, starting August.

The number of new cases in France has jumped to around 4,200 a day, according to the latest available official figures, although the number of deaths in hospital -- four in the past 24 hours -- is low.

Around 7,000 people with Covid-19 are in hospital in France.

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