By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 15 March 2022 • 9:30
The new Covid-19 regulations explained
image: pexels- gustavo fring
Despite the rate of coronavirus infections in France creeping upwards, the country has announced that it will lift most of its Covid-19 restrictions including the mandatory requirement to wear masks indoors and the need to show your vaccination passport.
The change in regulations valid from Monday March 15th, sees the removal of the requirement for children to wear masks in school as it does the need to wear them in shops, places of work and public buildings,
Face masks will however still be compulsory on public transport, in hospitals and for visitors in care homes.
President Emmanuel Macron’s flagship vaccine passport scheme is also coming to an end, with people no longer required to show proof of vaccination to enter a restaurant, go to the gym or board a train.
The “health pass” system, which asked people to show they had been inoculated against Covid-19 or had a recent negative test, was first introduced in July last year.
The introduction led to protests in cities across France but had the support of the majority of the public according to polls. Despite the protests and opposition from large parts of the community, the scheme was made stricter in January meaning that a negative recent test was no longer enough to access hospitality venues, cinemas, libraries and long-distance trains.
France has one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe, at more than 90 per cent for those who are eligible for a vaccine.
People aged 80 and over can start getting a fourth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine from Monday.
Health minister Olivier Veran has said that despite easing restrictions, the French government remains “extremely vigiliant” about rising infections, saying people “must continue to protect themselves,” he said.
As in other countries some critics say the move is premature and is being steered by political and economic requirements rather than the safety of the country. The French head to the polls in a few weeks time.
Jerome Marty, who is head of the doctors’ union UFML, told France24: “It wouldn’t have bothered me if infections were falling, but clearly it’s not the case.
“Moreover, we’re dropping face masks without implementing any parallel measures to ventilate closed spaces and prevent viral concentrations.”
“With the presidential campaign in full swing, the motive is clearly political, not sanitary.”
Although cases continue to rise with 70,000 new cases per day over a seven-day average, France lifts Covid-19 passport and mandatory masks.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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