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France tightens vaccination requirements as cases continue to soar

The French authorities have announced the introduction of tougher vaccination requirements amid record numbers of Covid-19 infections.

The French authorities have announced the introduction of tougher vaccination requirements amid record numbers of Covid-19 infections.

People must now be vaccinated in order to attend events, go to restaurants or travel longer distances.

The country’s coronavirus passport system will no longer recognise a negative test as of January 15, pending parliamentary approval, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Monday evening.

Castex said the measures were being introduced in order to prevent the health care system from being overloaded and to protect the economy from serious disruption.

The change means that most of the French public will need a booster shot, for which they are automatically eligible three months after their last vaccine.

One exception to the new rules concerns access to shops, which people can still access without proof of vaccination in most cases.

Castex also announced that masks will now be required for anyone visiting busy city centres, and that capacity at sporting events is to be capped at 2,000 people indoors and 5,000 people outdoors.

Where possible, people are being asked to work from home for at least three days a week in the first three weeks of January.

People may no longer eat and drink on public transport, in sports venues or cinemas, while they can only eat and drink while seated in restaurants.

“We will do everything we can to accelerate vaccination and reach and persuade those who are not vaccinated,” Castex said.

He described vaccines as the crucial tool in the fight against the pandemic, protecting people from severe illness and preventing the healthcare system from being overloaded.

In France, 90 per cent of the eligible public is vaccinated. However, recently the seven-day incidence per 100,000 people was 712 and the figures are rising.

Schools are scheduled to reopen on January 3, though with plans in place for distance learning.

Castex said that a decision would be made by the end of the week on shortening the length of quarantine period to ensure that the rapid rise of case numbers would not slow down economic life any more than strictly necessary.

In one small piece of good news, no curfew was planned for New Year’s Eve, Castex said.

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