The French rush to vaccines after being told they need them to go to cafes: Coronavirus updates : NPR

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“It is a matter of individual responsibility” to get vaccinated against COVID-19, French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday. His new policy requires a special “health pass” for anyone who wants to visit restaurants.



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“It is a matter of individual responsibility” to get vaccinated against COVID-19, French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday. His new policy requires a special “health pass” for anyone who wants to visit restaurants.

Screengrab by NPR

A record number of French citizens booked vaccinations on Monday, after French President Emmanuel Macron said anyone wishing to visit cafes, bars or shopping centers must show a “health pass” from August that confirms they have been vaccinated or have recently tested negative for COVID-19. .

“Get vaccinated!” said the president a live address to the nation, warned of a new coronavirus outbreak fueled by the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

Many French people got the message loud and clear. On Monday, 926,000 people booked their first dose through the online medical platform Doctolib – “an absolute record”. the site says:. Hundreds of thousands of others continued to book slots on Tuesday.

Vaccination, Macron said, is “the only way to return to normal life”. He called it “our collective shield.”

The new policy also makes vaccinations or a recent negative test mandatory for:

  • Anyone who works in care and nursing homes or has contact with vulnerable people, with a deadline of mid-September.
  • Anyone aged 12 and over who wants to visit an amusement park, attend a show, concert or festival from 21 July.

Macron says France will have to live with the virus

France celebrated the return of indoor dining to restaurants and cafes last month as months of shutdown orders ended and a curfew was eased. The country also reopened its vital tourism industry, but officials say its return to normalcy depends on people embracing vaccination.

“It is a matter of individual responsibility, of a sense of collective spirit,” Macron said in his speech. “Our freedom also depends on that, for everyone.”

In another change, starting in the fall, COVID-19 testing will no longer be free unless prescribed by a doctor — a strategy designed to deter people from relying on repeated negative COVID-19 tests to to prove that they are not a health risk to others.

Macron has not issued any new lockdown orders, but has instead reiterated that the French public will have to “live with the virus”, likely until at least part of 2022.

Less than half of the country is vaccinated

The number of new cases in France is currently well below the major secondary peak it endured in the spring. But with only around 37% of the country vaccinated, and coronavirus variants common in screening testsMacron and other officials say a recent rise in cases is a warning that the country is once again at risk of seeing its health system overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases.

Many of the new cases come from younger people, especially those between 15 and 44 years old, according to national authorities health department.

France has reported more than 5.8 million cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the fourth most in the world. More than 111,000 people have died from the disease in the country.

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