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Protests in France over Covid health pass

2021-07-22 HKT 02:31
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  • Protesters in Toulouse hold a sign demanding "real democracy" as they criticise new health pass rules. Photo: AFP
    Protesters in Toulouse hold a sign demanding "real democracy" as they criticise new health pass rules. Photo: AFP
Hundreds of people protested in Paris on Wednesday against the introduction of a health pass for some activities and against compulsory vaccinations for health workers as the government seeks to curb a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections in France.

From Wednesday visitors heading to museums, cinemas or swimming pools in France will be denied entry if they cannot produce the health pass showing that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or have had a recent negative test.

Some of the protesters waved banners that read "Freedom to choose" and "Hands off my natural immunity!"

"They want to force us to be vaccinated at any price. No, no, no", said Nathalie Labedade, a care home worker.

The health pass, previously only required for large-scale festivals or to go clubbing, will also be needed from the start of August to enter restaurants and bars and for long-distance train and plane journeys.

At the Louvre museum in Paris, the head of security, Servane de Landsheer, said the first morning of health pass checks had gone well, with most visitors having the document and those who did not agreeing to get a quick Covid test.

"I was really angry... I had no idea," said Nelly Breton, 51, after being turned away from the Louvre as not enough time had elapsed since her vaccination for her pass to become valid.

"But then I calmed down and understood there were health reasons," she said, adding that she would now look for a pharmacy to get a rapid Covid test.

With the highly contagious Delta variant now dominant in France, tougher measures are essential and new lockdowns cannot be ruled out, Prime Minister Jean Castex told TF1 television, adding that vaccination was the only way out of the crisis. (Reuters)